Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Innovation Center

Mandel caption

Place: Yeruham

Scope: 1,800 sqm

Usage: Hub-Lab, Makers, Meeting Rooms, Classrooms, Auditorium, Cafeteria

Awards: Israeli Design Awards 2020

Clients: Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Innovation Center; The New Yeruham Fund; MindCet; The Center for Educational Technology (CET)

Services: Architecture, Interior Design

Status: Completed

About the Project

Surrounded by the Negev desert and its yellow limestone hills, the skyline of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel innovation center is reminiscent of a Bedouin tent, which 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 exposed concrete roof folds and hovers over the open workspaces from the street and the entrance space. The roof protrudes beyond the glass walls and functions as a shading element. The geometry of the structure allows natural light to penetrate all corners of the building and flood it with a gentle light, reinforcing the Mandel Center’s values of openness, inclusion & transparency.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Innovation Center is home to MindCet an 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 within the EdTech field, running various activities including entrepreneurship and accelerator programs, R&D, allowing for meaningful dialogue amongst teachers, students & schools. Completed at the end of 2019, the project includes an innovation hub, workspaces, a laboratory, an experimental classroom, visitor and exhibition spaces, a multifunctional auditorium and event space, cafeteria, and support spaces.

A visitor to this 1,800 sqm concrete tent with its expansive column-free spaces would discover multiple colorful, free-standing, enclosed cubes that house functions such as classrooms, makers workspaces, 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 contrasting elements, such as a bright & severe desert environment with a sheltered, and shaded interior; open public spaces with secluded private work areas, grey, rough 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 of applications. The material is well suited for a remote location where complex technical solutions may be hard to source and expensive to achieve. The technology and advanced systems, which are as important as the architecture, were incorporated as part of the design in the concrete ceiling (including acoustic sails) and in the floor space.

The simplicity of the arches creates an elegant presence and the malleability of the concrete was an ideal material for use in the desert.

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 initial project brief.