The Weizmann House
A landmark of Zionism and science receives international recognition
In 1917, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the founder and first President of the Weizmann Institute, was instrumental in the signing of the Balfour Declaration, a document attesting to the British government’s support for the establishment of a Jewish national home.
Now, 100 years later, the residence that Dr. Weizmann called home is being re-opened to the public, after undergoing a thorough renovation and preservation process.
That process has culminated in the structure being declared an “Iconic House”, signifying membership in an exclusive global network of architecturally significant 20th century homes (IconicHouses.org). Designed by German-Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn in 1937, the Weizmann residence is the first building in Israel to achieve this special status.
Distinguished by its unique juxtaposition between the modern architecture that flowered in Europe during the 1930s and traditional Mediterranean influences, the architect’s professed goal was to “construct a building which would be Oriental to such an extent as to make a European feel at home in it.” After Chaim Weizmann’s death, his widow, Dr. Vera Weizmann, continued to live in the house until her death in 1966. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1978.
The recent restoration project, which focused primarily on the house’s exterior, was led by Israeli architect Tal Eyal, whose Tel-Aviv firm specializes in historical conservation. In preparation for her work, Eyal conducted research in the Yad Chaim Weizmann Archives, a repository of some 200,000 documents where the original plans for the house—as well as correspondence, telegrams and bills related to its construction–are preserved.
Built to look like a ship at sea, the house’s surrounding gardens were designed with a unique topography of terraces reminiscent of waves. The water theme is echoed in the estate’s mirror-like pool reflecting the home’s central tower, and which–in the current renovation—was restored to its original glory while its foundation was raised in compliance with modern safety standards. The original plaster used to build the house was reproduced as part of the conservation process, creating a renewed façade that closely matches historical photos.
In celebration of the re-opening of the site, Yad Chaim Weizmann is organizing a number of tours and events including educational programs for children of various ages in Hebrew, English and Arabic. In addition, the house will be open for the first time for conferences and special events.
The House is open Sun. – Thurs. 8:00 – 16:00
Visits must be coordinated in advance, and can be arranged by calling: 08-9344499
Additional information can be found at http://www.chaimweizmann.org.il or 08-9343230.