The Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning has been part of Technion history from the beginning, and its graduates continue to play a key role in designing and building modern Israel. Among prominent faculty members from the first decades of the Faculty was former dean Prof. Yohanan Ratner who initiated the “Wall and Watch Tower” idea and with the establishment of the State, became Chief of General Staff and Head of the Planning Department of the IDF.
Many Israel Prize laureates in architecture throughout the generations have been connected with the Faculty as teachers or graduates, including (in alphabetical order) Ram Carmi, Ada Carmi-Melamed, Itzhak Danziger, Al Mansfeld, Yakov Rechter, Yaacov Yaar, Avraham Yaski. The first woman to win the EMET (Arts-Sciences-Culture) Prize (2006), architect Nitza Szmuk, is a member of the faculty.
Teachers and graduates of the faculty are among winners of the prestigious Zeev and Yacov Rechter Prize in Architecture: (in alphabetical order) Dan Eytan and Yitzhak Yashar, Shelly Cohen, Bracha and Michael Chyutin, Eitan Kimmel and Michal Eshkolot, Moshe Tzur, and as well as all of the above-named winners of the Israel prize.
Global attention has focused on the Faculty’s international achievements, including:
- Movement notation developed in 1958 by Noa Eshkol and Abraham Wachman.
- Alfred Neumann’s development, with his partners Zvi Hecker and Eldar Sharon, of a school of architecture based on networks of non-orthogonal open spaces.
- The development by Prof. Michael Burt, former dean of the Faculty, of a “cycling system” of non-Euclidian shapes – research in spatial geometrics.
- Artist Prof. Paul Konrad Hoenich, nicknamed PeKA, taught in the Faculty for decades. He developed original design ideas using sunrays. The PeKA Hoenich Gallery was established through the generosity of his family.
The Faculty’s characteristic involvement in national aspects of design are most clearly demonstrated by the research and design work “Israel 2020 – Master Plan for Israel for in the 21st Century” directed by Prof. Adam Mazor, together with other senior faculty members and with the participation of 250 planners, architects, and other professionals, financed jointly by the Technion and 13 government offices. The Faculty’s involvement in national issues was also prominent in research to evaluate national projects to renovate deteriorated neighborhoods, in planning the spread of dozens of new settlements in the Galilee, and the spreading trend of building high-rise buildings in Israel.
The Faculty at Present
Today, the Faculty is home to four programs: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, and Industrial Design (the latter two on the post graduate level only). With some 850 students registered at any given time, the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning is by itself a large higher-education institution.
The Faculty has always maintained a very high level of scholarship and professional training. Its mission is to train professionals who are technically skilled, creative, and socially and environmentally conscious. The curriculum thus emphasizes not only the technical and design aspects of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning, but also the social, psychological, technological, economic, and legal dimensions of human intervention in the physical environment.
Each year, the Faculty grants approximately 100 bachelor degrees, 80 in architecture and 20 in landscape architecture; some 50 master’s degrees, predominantly in urban planning; and doctoral degrees both in architecture and urban planning. The faculty members, many of whom received their degrees abroad, are researchers with world-class accomplishments or leading architects in Israel.
Graduates of the Faculty, its teachers and researchers have had continuous, major influence on the design image of Israel and its landscapes, on the style of the built environment ranging from single homes to the local and national scale, and on the consolidation of professional and theoretical knowledge in the fields of architecture and design. Specific fields of knowledge developed in the Faculty and subsequently disseminated in Israel include urban planning and the energy of buildings, including social, economic, and legal aspects of local planning. Architectural streams such as postmodernism and deconstruction have become the public estate of Israel in the wake of the Faculty’s engagement with them.