SURROUNDED BY THE NEGEV DESERT AND ITS YELLOWISH LIMESTONE HILLS THE SKYLINE OF THE JACK, JOSEPH AND MORTON MANDEL INNOVATION CENTER IS REMINISCENT OF A BEDOUIN TENT THAT ARE STILL PRESENT IN THIS AREA.
The juxtaposition of the town of Yeruham and the starkness of the Negev was one of the visual inspirations for the building's envelope and its interior colors. The poured in place architectural concrete roof is stretched and folded above and over the interior working and activity spaces to create a sheltered, well lit, comfortable interior environment. Fully glazed and shaded street-facing façade reinforces Mandel center’s values of openness, inclusion, and transparency.
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Innovation Center is home to MindCet a EdTech innovation center which brings together entrepreneurs, educators, and researchers to develop innovative groundbreaking educational learning and distance learning solutions based technology. MindCet is recognized globally in the EdTech field, with various activities including entrepreneurship and accelerator programs, R&D with a specific focus, and meaningful dialogue with Teachers, Students & Schools. Completed at the end of 2019 the project includes innovation hub, working spaces, maker laboratory, experimental classroom, visitor and exhibition spaces, multifunctional auditorium and event space, cafeteria, and support spaces.
A visitor to this 1,800 sm concrete tent with its hovering volumetric column-free spaces would discover multiple colorful, free-standing, enclosed cubes that house functions such as classroom, maker space, and meeting rooms. Requiring a higher level of acoustical privacy, these colorful cubes also serve as space separators creating smaller more personalized work zones within the larger volume.
This unique design was able to successfully synthesize in one building many opposing contrasts such as, bright, harsh desert environment and a sheltered, comfortable, and shaded interior. Open, gracious public spaces with private secluded private work areas. Grayish, rough, moody concrete with warm, colorful, lively finishes and materials. The use of concrete as a primary material was selected because of its common use and wide range applications. The material is well suited for a remote location whereby complex technical solutions may be hard to find and expensive to achieve. Man-made, plastic, fluid; the versatility of reinforced concrete is most evident when the structural system is demonstrated openly and the finish and methods of its construction are articulated on its finished surfaces.
Spatial qualities are achieved by combining structure materiality and gravity. Like an arch’s powerful aesthetic in its simplicity and clarity of purpose, the malleability of concrete and its ability to take on plastic form was an ideal material for use in the desert giving the Mandel Center of Innovation an elegant presence and dignity of material and form.
We believe the result is an expression of innovation through design, a reflection of transparency, simplicity and a sense of place and purpose for the new Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Innovation Center as outlined in the project initial project brief.