The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Site area: 80,000 sqm
Pre-existing built area: 50,000 sqm
New built area: 6,000 sqm
Construction budget: 100,000,000 USD
Collaboration: James Carpenter Design Associates
CD:A. Lerman Architects
Project architect: Carmit Harnik Saar
Project team: Hila Rak-Broides, Ruth Kedar, Itay Navon, Rinat Shteinlauf, Dan Hasson, Dan Koniac, Alon Ben-Nun, Charlotte Mottahedeh, Ariel Noyman
Project Management: Nizan-Inbar Project Managment Ltd.
Structural Engineering: J. Kahan&Partners.
Status: Built

Archaeology Wing
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Area: 3,000 sqm
Project team: Carmit Harnik Saar, Hila Rak-Broides, Ruth Kedar,
Shani Granek-Isbi, Itay Navon, Dan Koniac, Natali Martinov
Exhibition Design: Pentagram, London
Project Management: Ira Davelman, Am-Gar Project Management Ltd.
Structural Engineering: Yossi Gordon
Status: Built


The renewal of the Isreal Museum in Jerusalem is a project of renovation, reorganization and expansion of the national museum which was designed by architects Al Mansfeld and Dora Gad and opened in 1965. The original museum was conceived as an open-ended accumulative system with inbuilt possibilities to evolve and mutate within a fixed grid and according to modular increments.
Indeed, the prospect of unrelenting growth has proved justified and the museum has multiplied its floor area ten times within about 40 years.
The incredible growth of the museum has brought it to the brink of an organizational and operational collapse. While the initial design system had been successful in maintaining the appearance of formal coherence, internally the colossal structure became unsustainable, out of scale and at odds with its own program.
We were commissioned to draft a new master plan for the museum; resolving the internal organizational problems, reorganizing the entrance and circulation system and speculating on potential areas for further expansion.
Our solution was a subtle and strategic intervention that consolidated the existing cellular structures and added missing links that would allow the museum complex to function again. The intervention included a new entrance and ticket pavilion with a generous forecourt; an inserted passage leading to a new core element from which all internal galleries and departments of the Museum are accessed; reorganization of all galleries for better accessibility, orientation and visibility; and finally preservation work which included rehabilitation of external stone facing and internal exposed concrete surfaces and restoration of natural lighting in the exhibition spaces.

All stages, from conceptual master plan to internal fit out, have been carried out on schedule and on budget. The Israel Museum re-opened to the public in July 2010.
With the conclusion of the project, EKA is proud to put forward two unusual achievements: First, albeit the massive structural, spatial and material transformations, the museum has kept its original sense of place, set of proportions and spatial flow. Second, while adding less than 10% to the existing envelope of the museum, we managed to double its exhibition area by considerably improving its internal performance.