The Technion’s Entrance Gate / Schwartz Besnosoff Architects
Text description provided by the architects. The projects brief was to plan a new entrance gate to the Technion (I.I.T – Israel institute of technology) located in Haifa, Israel. A gate that will represent the Technion’s values of Excellence and Innovation and will ensure safe & controlled entry process. Our project links between two existing but disconnected promenades– the first arrives from the city (ends next to the gate) and the second departs near the entry gate inside the campus towards the campus historic center. The project offers a new interpretation to the idea of a “Gate” – not a brier or a separator but as a bridge that connects the city and the campus through a green promenade.
The Technion’s human assets (students, faculty and graduates) have always been its top priority, together with its awareness and sensitivity to the built and natural environment. Excellence & distinction are some of the central qualities that the institute aspires to. These characteristics are proudly reflected by the quality of research, Nobel laurates, and leading graduates who compose the backbone of the Hi-Tech community in Israel and worldwide. The Technion’s old entrance, didn’t match it’s functional or representational needs. Student & visitors entered through sun flooded sidewalks, along busy roads, creating both an unsafe and unpleasant environment for the beginning of another day on campus.
Our project Identified existing potentials as the starting point for the planning: An existing campus promenade full of shade located right next to the Technion’s entrance. The promenade ends in the center of the campus. An urban promenade that ends just outside the campus entrance. A unique topographic situation enables to create a continuous movement above existing road. Near and far views+ green environment By Identifying these potentials, the project creates a spatial connection between the city and the campus through a new public space for the students & visitors.
Gate – Usually we look at gates as a barrier between two points. The project offers a new meaning to the idea of a “gate” as an urban platform that connects the city and the campus. The connection is made by a bridge that acts as a linkage between two existing promenades that didn’t meet. Through this connection a new urban sequence is made, a shady green promenade that enters from the city and passes through the Technion’s main monuments and ends in the central lawn.
Pedestrian route – The Pedestrian route begins with a platform that utilizes the opposite slope of the topography to produce the desired height for vehicles to pass through, creating a safe and controlled entrance. After the security checkpoint, the path opens to a wide square, sloping with the declining topography – thus creating a dramatic view to the Haifa’s bay area and the Zyloni promenade. The space serves as an unformal square – a place for students waiting for their friends, for leisure activities, a stage for events, as well as a starting point for a campus visit. From there, the pedestrians walk to the Ziloni promenade leading to the Rifkin dorms and further to the campus’s heart.
We find in this connection, between the city and the green heart of the campus, a kind of a “green revolution”, an expression of the social and environmental significance, which are the basis of the Technion’s values. All this with little effort and maximizing the potential available on the site. We believe that the recognition of human capital and environmental potentials in combination with advanced technologies, creates a valuable solution, whose impact is significant (beyond the technical solution of regulating the entrance) and corresponds to the needs of the Technion, which is currently becoming one of the most influential academic institutions in the world.
Our project redefines the concept of gates. not as a separator or as a barrier but as a connector, a public platform for events and activities connecting the city with the heart of the campus. The project was designed with advanced parametric tools to simplify its production process Although the complex and challenging shape. We believe that the recognition of human capital and environmental potentials in combination with advanced technologies, creates a valuable solution, whose impact is significant and corresponds to the needs of the Technion now and in the future.