Located in the center of the Tel Aviv University campus, The Check Point Building by Kimmel Eshkolot will open to the public this month. As a seemingly floating volume in the campus, it contrasts the adjacent Mario Botta’s iconic Cymbalista Synagogue and the 1960s Faculty of Exact Sciences.
The Check Point Building is a new type of technology integrated building with a unique envelope made of pixels of glass that were designed using parametric modeling. This shell was developed specifically for the project, and it is an innovative system matching the values that the building represents. Its positioning frames an area to the west of the building which supports its conversion from a parking lot to a central square in the campus.
Donated by Check Point, an Israeli cybersecurity corporation, the new faculty building aspires to support academic excellence and training of future generation of computer scientists and programmers. The Check Point Building for the Faculty of Computer Sciences joins a list of new university campus additions, including the Kimmel Eshkolot
Architects’ designed Steinhardt Museum of Natural History.
The development of the unique technology implemented in the Check Point building had a critical influence on the design process by Kimmel Eshkolot Architects and on the final result. The unique architectural language of the building strives to transcend the heavy materiality of buildings to the immaterial virtuality of computers and cloud computing. It appears to be constantly changing, from material to reflection, blending with the sky and clouds.
“Technology often inspires architects and enables the realization of ideas which were not possible in the past. In the Check Point Building, as well as in our studio’s work on the National Memorial Hall on Mount Herzl, technology no longer merely serves the architecture, but has become an essential part of the architectural idea,” says Etan Kimmel of Kimmel Eshkolot Architects.
The building envelope is characterized by flowing and dynamic geometries, which create a connection between the wings: the Youth Wing and the common wing in the lower sections, which converge towards the upper floors, towards the Computer
Science areas. In the middle are the garden and the Youth Experiment Terrace.
The building envelope consists of five types of 40 x 40 cm glass panels that are anchored to the building. The five configurations offer various levels of transparency and reflectivity, designed with parametric modeling in accordance to the needs of the users — transparency in the windows and garden areas and sealing in other parts. The more transparent panels can open in a parallel plane to the facade – similar to the door of a bus – creating windows that visually maintain the overall volume even when open.
In order to blur the windows appearance in the overall mass at dark, a lighting system was designed to illuminate certain pixels and make the windows less visible. The building has a double-skin facade, with the glass pixels creating a ventilated buffer
zone. The spaces of the building ‘breathe’ the fresh air that the air-conditioning system sucks from this in-between area.
The different spaces and the circulation system create informal meeting areas as well as open work environments that are integrated into staff rooms and laboratories. The idea of flow and movement visible in the facade continues in the design of the interior: The classrooms have views towards the central atrium, the staircase lead visitors through a sequence of spaces and classrooms flow out and become coworking areas.