The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects has unveiled The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University, the first museum of its kind in Tel Aviv. The Museum houses the spectacular and vast natural history collections of the University and will now serve as a centre for academic research for its natural sciences staff.
The 10,000 square-meters building is environmentally-friendly and housed within a striking architectural structure composed of a wooden-panel shell. The wooden ‘treasure box’ is thermally insulated to afford complete climate control of the interiors. The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History will become an integral part of the city’s cultural offerings and Tel Aviv University’s campus, connecting its academic buildings with the botanical and zoological gardens behind.
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History stands at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens of Tel Aviv University and creates a new entryway for visitors to tour the gardens in addition to the exhibitions. Floating above ground, the Museum’s entrance plaza and gathering lawn allow a seamless view of the gardens from the street level. Kimmel Eshkolot Architects designed The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History to maximize the spatial restrictions of the designated plot and implement an interior architectural scheme to create exhibition spaces throughout. Below ground, the firm created an additional 14,000 square-meters of parking space for museum visitors, Tel Aviv University staff and students.
The Museum’s exhibitions start within display structures along the ramps leading up from the main atrium. These daylight exposed spaces lead into darker and larger designated exhibition areas. The ramps are wide and with minimal slope, allowing visitors, including those with disabilities, to walk up to the “treasure box,” while experiencing the different spaces of the building. The visit ends on the rooftop terrace, overlooking the botanical gardens, from which visitors can go directly down to a public square and enter the gardens.
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History combines both exhibition spaces and research activities within a modern edifice wrapped with an insulated wooden shell. Above the main interior exhibition space on the building’s upper levels, lies the research laboratories for Tel Aviv University’s staff. The researchers have access to the Museum’s entire collections and have independent dedicated circulation and entrance paths. Via the internal ramps and hallways, both visitors and researchers will be visually exposed to one another in a series of choreographed encounters through designed architectural structures and glass windows.
For more information about Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, visit www.kimmel.co.il.
For more information on The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, visit: www.smnh.tau.ac.il/en/.
About Kimmel Eshkolot Architects
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects is an Israeli architecture practice, founded in 1986 in Tel Aviv by Etan Kimmel and Michal Kimmel Eshkolot. In their first years of practice, they were involved in the preservation and rehabilitation of Tel Aviv’s historical Neve Tzedek neighborhood. In 1993, they were awarded the Rokach Prize for Architecture for their projects in Neve Tzedek. In the same year Ilan Carmi joined the practice, and became associate in 1997.
Throughout the years they have won several national competitions for the design of high-profile public projects, such as the new expansion of the Kiryat Hamemshala government compound in Jerusalem, the Davidson Museum in the Archaeological Park near the Western Wall and the Memorial Hall for Israel’s Fallen in Mount Herzl.
In 2011, they won the Rechter Prize for Architecture, considered to be the most prestigious award for architecture in Israel. They received the award for the design of a rehabilitation center in Be’er Sheva, in the south of Israel. This project was also selected for project of the year in the international competition of the magazine Israeli Architecture.
The practice is currently involved in dozens of projects in different scales, both in Israel and in Europe.