October 1 // Zvi Efrat : The Israel Project

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents
co-sponsored by the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities

Zvi Efrat : The Israel Project
[response by Nasser Abourahme]
Tue October 1, 2019 @5pm
Princeton University – School of Architecture – Room N107

Contrary to popular belief, the architecture of the State of Israel was not born haphazardly out of emergency or speculation. The Israeli built environment is the deliberate response to a unique objective—how to design and build an instantaneous “model state”. To this end, the terrain itself was re-shaped and re-purposed and dozens of new towns and hundreds of new rural settlements were constructed. Fashionable post-war architectural trends like Brutalism and Structuralism were appropriated as signifiers of national vigour. Exhibitions, publications and films mediated the notion of a singular modernist project, unprecedented in its hyper-production of spatial and structural experiments.


Prof. Zvi Efrat, Architect and Architectural Historian, is partner at Efrat-Kowalsky Architects (EKA) and was Head of the Department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (2002-2010). He has taught and lectured worldwide, published extensively and curated numerous exhibitions, among them: Borderline Disorder (The Israeli Pavilion at the 8thArchitectural Biennale, Venice, 2002); The Object of Zionism, Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel, 2011); and Communal by Commune (HKW, Berlin, 2015).

His book, The Israeli Project: Building and Architecture 1948-1973, was published in Hebrew in 2004 by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His book The Object of Zionism, The Architecture of Israel was published by Spector Books, Leipzig, in 2018.His film The Most Beautiful Campus in Africa was shown at the Bauhaus Imaginista exhibition at HKW Berlin, 2019.

The Office of Efrat-Kowalsky Architects (EKA) specializes in the design of museums and in re-programming existing structures. Among the office recent projects: Performing Arts Campus in Jerusalem: The Israel Museum in Jerusalem (renewal and expansion); City Museum of Tel Aviv (preservation and new additions): The Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art: the Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece.


Nasser Abourahme is a Faculty Fellow at NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, where he works between urban geography, colonial studies, and political theory.  He has a PhD from Columbia University, and is the Special Features Editor at the urban studies journal, CITY.   His current work moves across the social sciences and the humanities to look at issues of borders and encampment as they come up against questions of aesthetics and textuality.