Jacobs Scholarship Update

Research for my Jacobs Scholarship research paper titled, Contemporary Design Within Historic Jerusalem, is progressing well. To begin, I spent four weeks researching the history of architectural trends in Israel in the twentieth century to determine my topic and thesis. My goal was to find a means to connect architecture created in Jerusalem in the twentieth century, a period of enormous expansion, experimentation with style, and formation of identity linked to architecture, to contemporary construction. My topic covers how new buildings within historic parts of the city, like the Old City or the neighborhood of Rehavia, seek to maintain visual continuity while using architectural features attractive to contemporary buyers. Building like the one on the left merge traditional construction material like "Jerusalem stone" with forms popular in the 1970's and 1980's, when it was likely created.This phase of research relied heavily on written books and articles, accessible in Virginia. It thrilled me during my first visit to Jerusalem to view in person the buildings I had studied afar using Google Maps. I am still developing my thesis as I refine my list of examples and conduct further research, but I am encouraged to know that my topic is viable and strong. Buildings like those on the left, constructed in  the traditional material of “Jerusalem Stone” with forms popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s (notice the jutting, elevated bay windows) tailor modern design to respect and blend with the surrounding built environment. (Personal photograph.)


  1. lcwaddill says:

    This project seems like a really interesting way to study architecture and city identity, and it’s especially great that you were able to travel to Jerusalem. I’m curious, did you visit other parts of Israel and see other cities that reflect similar architectural trends? Also, I know you’ve said you’re comparing 20th century and contemporary architecture, but has your research exposed you to even more historical architectural styles? With such a rich history, Jerusalem seems like the kind of place to emphasize traditional identity even during a time of architectural experimentation. Maybe that question goes beyond the scope of your project, and regardless, it sounds like you’re learning a lot about the city. I especially love that you’ve been using Google Maps to look at the buildings. Clever!

  2. mbcmgill says:

    Your project sounds so interesting, especially since you were able to travel to Jerusalem to conduct it! I would imagine that finding a balance between period integrity and modern appeal is something that many history and tourist rich cities struggle with. While in Jerusalem, were you able to speak with any local experts regarding the architecture?