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BGU Buildings Garner Prestigious Architectural Awards

BGU Buildings Garner Prestigious Architectural Awards

March 11, 2009

Business & Management, Negev Development & Community Programs, Press Releases

LOS ANGELES, March 11 , 2009 — Two buildings at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), designed by Raquel Vert of  Los Angeles-based Vert Architects, were awarded first prize in two different categories in the “Best Project of the Year 2008/9 Competition.”

Vert Architects received the two prestigious first prizes for outstanding architectural design of the Deichmann Building for Community Action and the Spitzer-Salant Building for the Department of Social Work, which form a single complex at Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel. 

The buildings were awarded first prize for Best Project of 2008/9 by the European Union out of 300 entries from around the world. 

This competition is a most prestigious and influential architectural contest in Europe and Israel.  The renowned architect Richard Meir was chairman of the international panel of judges.

The BGU complex also received the Yuli Offer first prize for “Advancing Architecture in Israel,” a prize awarded to the top three projects submitted for all categories in the Best Project of 2008/9 competition.

In 2004, Vert established a branch office in Israel and was commissioned to design the Spitzer-Salant Building for the Department of Social Work and the Deichmann Building for Community Action on the Marcus Family Campus of the University. 

The buildings comprise an integrated complex that defines the entrance to BGU through a piazza that links the town of Beer-Sheva with the campus. 

The connection was a priority of the BGU administration in meeting its obligation to reach out to the citizens of the Negev beyond the University boundaries. 

According to architect Raquel Vert, “The buildings’ form have a bold, playful and sculptural spirit, with a tilted concrete wall sitting in water holding a floating cubic structure and a curved metal wall penetrating the building through sheets of glass, all enforcing a sense of indoor-outdoors.

“Truly, as important as the prestige of these awards, is the knowledge that our design has succeeded in its goal of opening BGU to the city, linking the University’s academic life with the history of Beer-Sheva and establishing a cultural core for the entire community,” Vert explains.   

“We hope that these buildings inspire those who study at BGU to achieve and transmit innovative knowledge to the State of Israel and the global society.”

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications