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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

Israel's first architecture museum to open in Haifa... By Noam Dvir. Haaretz, November 3, 2011.

Director Amos Gitai, one of the best-known figures in the Israeli cinema, is establishing Israel's first museum of architecture.

Slated to open in March of next year in Haifa, in cooperation with the local municipality, it will be housed in the studio where Gitai's father, Munio Gitai Weinraub, used to work.

Gitai Weinraub, who died in 1970, was one of the few Jewish architects who studied at the Bauhaus architecture school in Germany.

The Haifa architecture museum will be located in the city's central Carmel neighborhood and will organize two temporary exhibitions a year on aspects of Israeli or international architecture, along with events such as meetings with architects or individuals whose creative activity relates to building design.

The museum will also feature a library, an archive and study areas. In the future, the museum is considering joining forces with academic or public institutions here or abroad.
A small permanent exhibition will present the work of Gitai Weinraub over his 36-year career. The first temporary display, which will open next year on what would have been Gitai Weinraub's birthday, March 16, will deal with the topic of public housing in Israel.

"Our intent is to prompt discussion and raise burning architectural questions that are the focus of public interest," Amos Gitai said. "In the first exhibition, we plan to survey public housing projects from the 1940s to the current period. We also aim to have sketches of contemporary options for public housing and to contribute to the debate taking place in the country following the social protests."

Architecture today deals obsessively with the visual dimension, Gitai said.

"I would like the museum to help return the debate to social and public issues," he said.
Renovations at the future museum location began Wednesday. Planning for the new space is being carried out by the Efrat-Kowalsky architectural firm, which was also involved in the major renovation project at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and renovations at the Holocaust museum at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot.

The conversion of the space is being financed by Gitai himself, who owns the property, in cooperation with the Haifa art, culture and sports agency known as Ethos, and the Haifa Museums.

The museum's operating budget will be relatively limited and funding for temporary exhibitions will be secured through charitable donations.