Kimmel Eshkolot Architects. Not the Usual Suspects
Etan Kimmel and Michal Eshkolot-Kimmel are unusual architects. Not only
are they two of the top architects in Israel, they decided to become
partners instead of working against each other within the relatively new
and competitive architectural field in the country. They are also
married to each other.
Israel is a young country, its modern expression
only being in existence for a little over fifty years. Jerusalem, for
example, is a physical reflection of the cultures and architectural
style of the periods, religions, and nations that governed it over the
centuries. The city has been in existence for over 3,000 years, which
means that the fifty years since the foundation of the State of Israel
is really just a brief moment and also responsible for an unprecedented
drive to construction. It's this background that Kimmel-Eshkolot and
Kimmel, who are representative of the modern architectural field in
Israel, find themselves working in and contributing to.
Their architectural firm,
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, is one of the top-rated newer architectural
firms in the country. Michal Kimmel-Eshkolot is a 1985 graduate of the
Technion Israel Institution of Technology and currently lectures at Tel
Aviv University. She has also served as the chair of the Tel Aviv
Association of Architects. Etan Kimmel also graduated from the Technion
in 1985, and has been invited back several times as a guest lecturer.
He has also had additional architectural training in the Netherlands.
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, as a firm, has focused on a wide variety of
projects, including public buildings, educational institutions, and
renovating existing buildings. They are well known for winning
architecture competitions, having won seven since their first in 1990.
They have also won several prestigious awards, most notably the Prize of
Erez Israel Yaffa in 2004, which was presented to them by the President
of the State of Israel.
One important project that demonstrates the firm's commitment to
excellent, as well as their architectural philosophy, is the Davidson
Center, a museum devoted to Israeli history, located in the center of an
archaeological park overlooking the Temple Mount, the site of the
Second Temple and where the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques now
stands. When Kimmel Eshkolot won the competition in 1996, they were a
small, new, and struggling young firm (and Michal and Etan were both in
their thirties), but by the time the Davidson Center was completed in
2001, they had become one of the most important architectural firms in
Another building Kimmel Eshkolot has designed is a high-rise tower
located between Tel Aviv's Tzedek and Florentine sections. Their goal
was to disrupt the surrounding neighborhood, with its historic and
quaint homes and small businesses, as little as possible. Michal has
stated her pride in how much time it takes for observers to figure out
if it's a new or old building. That's how successful they were in
designing the building so it resembled what was around it, and to
preserve the historical character of the neighborhood.
As a relatively new firm, Kimmel Eshkolot Architects is a perfect
metaphor for Israel, a young country with roots that go back for
thousands of years. The firm isn't much interested in preserving the
past, but it recognizes that history should be taken into account, even
in the designs of new buildings.