BOG 2017: Breaking New Ground for the Azrieli School of Architecture
In a major milestone for Tel Aviv University and its Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts, the cornerstone was laid for the Azrieli School of Architecture Building on campus. The new facility was made possible through a generous donation from the Azrieli Foundation Canada – Israel.
The building will perpetuate the legacy of renowned real estate developer, architect and philanthropist and TAU Honorary Doctor David J. Azrieli (1922-2014), who founded the School of Architecture at Tel Aviv University in 1993. The new state-of-the-art facility, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021, will extend over 5,000 square meters and be situated at the front edge of the campus adjacent to Lester and Sally Entin Square. The Building’s design will be determined through an architectural competition.
The building reinforces the School’s mission to produce passionate young architects whose inspirational designs and perspectives will enable them to make their own unique mark on society. Since its founding, the School has become an exciting, thriving center of excellence that is in high demand by students and employers across Israel.
The cornerstone laying ceremony was held in the presence of the Honorable Phillipe Couillard, Premier of Quebec; Azrieli’s daughters Sharon, Danna and Naomi, officials of the Azrieli Foundation Canada – Israel; Deborah Lyons, Canadian Ambassador to Israel; and Dr. Eran Neuman, Head of the Azrieli School of Architecture.
In his address, TAU President Joseph Klafter said, “I believe that the late David Azrieli would have been moved to see how this project continues his legacy. His vision was for a top-notch school to be created in the urban heart of the country.
“In recent years a real need has arisen for a new building that can respond to the varied requirements of the architects of the future. Thanks to the generous contribution of the Azrieli Foundation, we can now provide that response,” he said. Prof. Klafter noted Azrieli’s immense contribution to higher education in Israel, in particular through the Azrieli Fellowship Program which he established 10 years ago to support outstanding PhD students, including at Tel Aviv University. “David was extremely proud of the Azrieli Program. He gained great satisfaction from its role in nurturing the future leaders of Israel in the sciences, humanities and the arts,” he said.
“This building commemorates a man who was a builder of dreams, and whose pioneering projects changed the urban landscape and higher education in Israel forever. We are tremendously grateful to the Azrieli Foundation and to the family for partnering with us on this vital project,” concluded Prof. Klafter.
Dr. Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation in Canada, said, “One of the key aims of our Foundation is to support education and architecture, an objective that was close to the heart of our founder, David J. Azrieli. He felt passionately that Israel needed more architects to build the country, literally and figuratively. Literally, because we know it is vital to ensure solidly educated undergraduates who can change the landscape. Figuratively, because this School now provides master and doctoral degrees for exceptional architects who can research, study and inspire new students,” she said.
Dana Azrieli, Chair of the Azrieli Foundation in Israel, said, “We have known since the School opened that these students needed a purpose built facility. In fact, we still have my father’s early architectural designs of the space he imagined. We’re thrilled with what this building will offer as well as its prominent location on campus, which sends a message about the importance of training tomorrow’s architects. We are proud of what this school has become.”
From pioneering Israel’s shopping malls to constructing the nation’s tallest commercial towers, TAU benefactor David J. Azrieli left an indelible mark on Israel’s urban landscape and gained worldwide recognition as an entrepreneur, architect and designer. Azrieli’s life was an inspiring story of triumph over tragedy. After fleeing Europe during the Holocaust, he fought for Israel in the War of Independence. Later, despite making his home in Montreal, he remained deeply connected with Israel, building it up both physically and academically. Among his landmark projects is the iconic Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv.