The Avie and Sarah Arenson Built Heritage Research Center

Avie and Sarah Arenson Built Heritage Research Center

The Built Heritage Research Center first originated in the Technion’s Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning in 1975 as the Center for Documentation in Architecture. In 1990 Prof. Gilbert Herbert turned it into the Architectural Heritage Research Center which held the first archive in Israel designated for the preservation of architectural artifacts. In the last few years, the center renewed its publishing house activities and absorbed new collections under the leadership of Associate Professor Alona Nitzan Shiftan.

Since 2017, the Center has been operating under its new name, ‘Avie & Sarah Arenson Built Heritage Research Center’, and is receiving the generous support of the Arenson family. During this year the center’s head was Prof. Shamay Assif. The Center is located in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning and maintains close contact with all the faculty’s courses and is operating as a research hub for researchers and students engaged in the study of the various aspects of Israel’s built heritage. The Center works in cooperation with the Historical Archives of the Technion’s Central Library, the Azrieli Library of Architecture and Town Planning, The National Library of Israel and with other research institutions in Israel and abroad.

The Avie and Sarah Arenson Built Heritage Research Center main goal is to establish and nurture an in-depth study of design traditions of Israel’s built environment, which have been assimilated into the landscape from ancient times to our times. This study aims at understanding the central role of planning and designing buildings, landscapes and cities as part of the development of a cultural society, and also to manifest the richness and complexity of the past for the promotion of designing inspiring environments in the present and future.

The Avie and Sarah Arenson Built Heritage Research Center will achieve these goals through the following platforms: a research hub, an academic archive, and a publishing house.

The Center’s Research Hub supports researchers and professionals and facilitates the study and documentation of the Israeli built environment. As such, the research hub promotes research on issues relating to the history and theory of the built environment. In addition, the center is interested in in-depth studies of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern context as reflected in architecture, construction, and landscape, as well as the Arab urban traditions. The research hub offers researchers in the faculty, whose field of expertise is the built heritage, assistance in finding resources, scientific editing, and consulting services.

The Center‘s archive contains highly significant collections of prominent architects and scholars, ranging from the mid-19th century to the present. The main personal collections which the archive has been holding since its foundation include the works of such architects as Alexander Berwald, Gideon Kaminka, Alexander Klein, and Yochanan Ratner. The Center also includes the Personal Files Collection, which holds about 200 individual information files on Israeli architects; The Student Projects Collection dating back to the 1960s; The Israel Maps and Aerials Collection; glass negatives of the Jerusalem Rockefeller Museum Construction; and more.

In the last years, the Center’s archive renewed the reception of private architectural archives. The center absorbs, catalogs and preserves the monumental private collection of institutional documents of Shmuel Yavin, landscape architect Ruth Enis, the Technion portion of Alexander Klein archive, and the Ora and Yaakov Yaar collection. In the upcoming months, the archive’s catalog will be available online.

The publishing House activities are organized into four series: The Research Series, publishing original research of faculty members and graduate students; The Edut (testimony) Series, publishing architects, landscape architects and planners in their own words; The Mismach (Document) Series, publishing primary documents and making them accessible to the public; and The Sugia (issue) Series for smaller volumes dedicated to specific issues in the built environment which is also a good venue to publish graduate research.

Since the center has resumed its activity two books were already published: Life and Architecture – Yaacov Yaar, Architect, by Yaacov Yaar as the first publication of the Testimony Series (Sidrat E’dut); Aphoria (Gray Euphoria) – Architecture of Independence, by Jeremie Hoffmann and Hadas Goldbarsht as the first publication of the Documentation Series (Sidrat Te’ud).

The Center’s Website (under construction):



The center’s historic archive is open to the public by appointment:

Sunday: 13:15-16:15

Monday: 12:15-16:15

Tuesday: By appointment

Wednesday: 8:15-13:15

Thursday: 8:15-16:15

For general inquiries and planning a research visit:


Call: 972-4-8294011

Amado 211, Technion City, Haifa 32000

Staff Directory:

Chairman: Prof. Alona Nitzan Shiftan –

Manager: Elad Horn –

Publication House Manager: Oryan Shachar –

Archivist: Itay Keren –

Scientific Editor: Dr. Tzafrir Fainholtz –