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.)

Megiddo Expedition Update

Shabbat of week three marks the official halfway point of the Megiddo Expedition 2018. Sad goodbyes sent off the week three participants Thursday afternoon, as the volunteer team had become close after spending so much time together. The dig resumes Sunday morning with new students and the students, like myself, spending six weeks at the dig. Area S, where I work, has made significant progress in its attempt to understand the structure of the Middle Bronze Age Megiddo. The area team fully articulated a drain, removed multiple walls, and clarified a consistent destruction layer in the stratigraphy of Area S. Big-picture conceptions of the area coalesce slowly, founded on logic and visual identification by the area supervisors and the co-directors of the expedition. The process of identification of elements, assertion of causes, debate, and re-negotiation of ideas is highly informative. Art history, my discipline of study, is a bounded snapshot of understanding the material culture – participating in an archaeological expedition has expanded my thinking exponentially.

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Megiddo Expedition

Megiddo, located in the north of Israel, is a notable historic and archaeological site because of its long, internationally connected history. This important site has been undergone a long series of excavations to uncover the structure of the settlement. This summer, I will volunteer and study at the Megiddo Expedition, part of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, from June 23 to August 2, 2018.  In this process, I will engage in the six-credit field school, lasting six weeks. The field school introduces students to the full cycle of archaeology and provides students training in a range of archaeological technologies, including GIS, AutoCAD, and 3-D imaging.

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Contemporary Design within Historic Jerusalem

This project examines how Israeli society has selected to utilize, remember, or disregard historic architecture in Jerusalem. In such a historic environment, the layering and interaction between different architectural styles witnesses to the discourse on identity that has been asserted and contested within the city. I will seek to understand how contemporary architects and city planners take into account historic architecture and meaning when designing. This project pairs analysis of architectural design and of urban layout with study of the social, economic, and political environment that influences the design. I will seek to show how visual perception of buildings reveal historical phases and significant development through methodological approaches of art history. Studying the built environment allows one to explore how individuals and groups conceptualize their relationships and lifestyles within spaces.