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The Kibutzim Seminar

Competition entry- October 2001

"Civil architecture produces the moment when the construction of culture is revealed as an immediate sensation"

The design proposal for the redeployment of the seminar aspires to create this kind of moment and quality. An educational institute of this scale and acclaim has an obligation to create a clear and active relationship with its physical and cultural environment. In that sense the building can not be perceived as a final product in itself, but rather as a generator of relations and conditions, creating areas of contact and friction and promoting a dialog between in & out.
Once the seminar's activity is on one hand exposed intemally to its members, while on the other projected out and makes manifest the production of culture to its surrounding environment, then the seminar constructs a significant social stand as an active and central cultural player.
This approach is integrated into the design process itself, i.e. the project is not designed as a cultural symbol, but rather as an active generator of culture and dialog. The design process is based on formulation of a strategy for the compression of the seminar into an area a quarter of its present size. The challenge of such of a task is in maintaining some of the old institute's qualities that are embedded in its kibbutz like organization of small and dispersed buildings around green patches of grass. The scheme translates this organizational construction into dense and urban like environment by creating a unique circulation system that is intertwined with open un programmed spaces. These programmatic voids allow spaces of mediation and dialog between the different functions and users and in fact stages the "accident" that is needed to create the sensation of the unplanned, uncontrolled direct dialog. The immediate and unmediated encounter, whether it is internal- between users, or external- between city and seminar is the effect the scheme aspires to achieve. By doing so the scheme turns the necessity that marked the departure point for the project (the seminar having to sell its expensive land to private developers) into an opportunity to reposition an old institute in the forefront of the Israeli cultural dialog.