Al Mansfeld and the interpretation of the Israel Museum

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Over the past few decades, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem has been the subject of post-colonial interpretations which likened the organisation of the pavilions that make up the museum to the form of an Arab village. Focusing on the organisational and formal similarities between the museum and the typology of the Arab village, these interpretations propose that Israel, even before the 1967 War and the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, had already begun to appropriate Palestinian symbols. These interpretations often refer to drawings made by Al Mansfeld, the museum's architect. This essay argues that while the post-colonial interpretations may be correct, they neglect to address yet another big influence on Mansfeld's thinking when he conceptualised the Israel Museum in the late 1950s. During the early 1930s in Berlin, Mansfeld was a student of two German Expressionist architects, Hans Poelzig and Heinrich Tessenow. During these years, Mansfeld was exposed to expressionist ideas about architecture that later permeated his designs and artwork, including the design of the Israel Museum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-830
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2015


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