The simultaneous presence of two apparently irreconcilable architectural paradigms is the most characteristic feature of the new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art: neutrality and spectacular architecture live together in the recently opened building, designed by Preston Scott Cohen Architects.
The Boston practice, which won the special design competition promoted by the Museum in 2003 thanks to the donation of Herta and Paul Amir (hence the name of the structure “Herta and Paul Amir Building”), designed a building made up of a series of independent floors with steel structures piled one on top of the other, connected by a vertical spiralling geometry. The single rectangular plan galleries are organised around a large top lit spiralling atrium called "Lightfall" for obvious reasons.
While the interiors are essential communicating and rectangular plan with a minimalist character, the spectacular torsions which highlight the external façade are composed of 465 differently shaped flat panels made of pre-cast reinforced concrete creating a diamond-shaped building.
The new building partially reflects the materials of the previously existing structure, creating a visual link with its surroundings. The work comes within a wider tradition of Israeli cultural architecture from the multiple vocabularies of Mendelsohn to the impassivity of the Bauhaus.