Zvi Efrat, “The Object of Zionism. The Architecture of Israel”

Architects and soldiers observing a map and terrain

Contrary to popular belief, the architecture and spatial politics of the State of Israel were 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 a model state nearly instantaneously. To do this, space had to be remade: a new terrain was molded, and dozens of new towns and hundreds of rural settlements were constructed. Fashionable postwar architectural trends like Brutalism and Structuralism were appropriated as signifiers of national vigor.

The Object of Zionism. The Architecture of Israel is a critical study of Zionist spatial planning and the architectural fabrication of the State of Israel from the early 20th century to the 1960s and ’70s. Zvi Efrat scrutinizes Israel as a singular modernist project, unprecedented in its political and ethical circumstances and its hyper-production of spatial and structural experiments. Efrat explores the construction of the State of Israel in a book that promises to become a standard reference on Israeli architectural history.

Architect and architectural historian Zvi Efrat is a partner at Efrat-Kowalsky Architects in Tel-Aviv and was head of the Department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, between 2002 and 2010. He studied at Pratt Institute, New York University and Princeton University and has curated numerous exhibitions, among them Borderline Disorder and The Object of Zionism. Efrat is a Graham Foundation awardee.

The event is hosted by MDes and will be followed by a conversation with John May and Malkit Shoshan.

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