The idea of experience and spaces comes hand in hand one cannot detach them, as any 3-dimensional space erects, it always simultaneously creates an experience for its user an experience that is sometimes so alien for the man that he is unable to connect with the space. This is where architecture steps in; it’s the fourth dimension of the space without which any experience is incomplete, it adds a narrative to the space, a narrative that connects the experience and the user. 

The role of architecture in creating a narrative is very important but it becomes more significant in space like museums where everything else comes to silence and the space becomes the sole guider of the user in understanding the story that the museum is trying to narrate.

Here are the 20 best art museums in Israel:

1. Etzel Museum

The Etzel museum is designed by Amnon Niv, it was a preservation project through the collaboration of the IDF museum unit and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The museum is built on ruins that reflect the history of Russian Zionist and the Jewish immigrant who came to Israel during the 1948’s war. The glass structured added stands as a contrast to the ruins, such strong contrast celebrates the past as well as reflects how the present stands on the firm ground created in the past.

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2. Tel-Aviv Museum of Art

The museum was designed by Preston Scott Cohen in 2010, located in the cultural hub of the city acting as a landmark. Thus the form and the exterior façade became the real representation of the architectural language and the culture of Israel. In interior spaces natural light was the significant feature; twisted geometry was used as an architectural strategy to flood the entire museum with natural light. The eight feet tall atriums act as the visual and programmatic datum, the twisted form of the atriums brings in indirect natural light in the museum and then helps to lighten up all the programs that are attached to the atrium.

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3. Yad Vahsham Holocaust Museum

The museum is located on Mount Herzl designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the journey began with an elongated spine walkway that takes the user underground. The intimidating scale of the spine is almost a journey for the user where he detaches himself from outside and experiences the grievance and loss of the holocaust. The spine ends into two conical structures one that records the name of people known and the other is designed as an echo chamber that represents the countless unknown who lost their lives.

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4. Shrine of the Books

The building was designed by Armand Phillip Bartos and Frederick John Kiesler, it was mainly designed to represent the dead sea scrolls. The contrast of the white dome and the black basalt walls represent the war of sons of light against the sons of darkness. A dark passageway takes one into the museum and the scripts of the scrolls are displayed in the darkness of the passage representing the way it was originally found.

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5. Design Museum Holon

The museum is designed by Ron Arad Architects. The museum is made on the modernist idea of a free-flowing plan where the exhibition space provides the endless possibility of the display. But the structure stands as the main feature where bold material like corten steel is used in a very light and spiraling structure that is also used as a medium for guiding the user movement with the museum.

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6. Palmach museum

It was designed with the collaboration of two architects; Zvi Hacker and Rafi Segal between 1992-1999. The building emphasizes the landscape through solid volumetric masses encircling the center court. The building itself acts as a second landscape whistle respecting the existing one that represents the history of war. 

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7. Herzliya Museum

The museum was initially designed in 1960 as a combination of a memorial and a cultural center, it was well known for representing the architectural style of its time, brutalist style, with exposed concrete walls, double heighted hallways, etc. Therefore, when the building was renovated by architect Yaakov Rechter in 2000; he kept the style brutalist while he played with the scale of the building to design different gestures for different entrances in order to curate an interesting narrative within the museum.

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8. The Menachem Begin Heritage Center

The museum was designed by an architect; Uri Shaviv, it uses a combination of different mediums like display boards, text, videos, photographs and furniture to narrate the story of former Prime Minister, Harry Hurwitz Begin. A minimalistic approach was used to design the museum in order to reflect the modest character if begin as well as to bring the story of begin of highlight while the architecture takes the back seat.

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9. Hebrew Music Museum

The museum is located in Jerusalem, it celebrates different cultures and their music. The interior of the museum is divided into 7 halls each hall having a distinctive architectural language that represents a particular culture.

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10. Umm el-Fahem Museum for Contemporary Art

The museum is located in the Haifa District of northern Israel, near the hilly agricultural area. The site with dramatic topography helps to create a new language of museum design which is dense with terraces and balconies that are opening towards the outside to create a sense of openness in the interior. The concept of the SO architects was to design the museum as the educator thus a central position was assigned to the Education Centre and a visual hierarchy was created by opening it up into the central court, Wadi.

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11. Petach Tikva Museum of Art

It is a contemporary Israeli museum that uses a diverse form of medium: painting, photography, video, film, digital media, architecture, installation and sculpture, to educate the users about the culture and the history of Israeli. The design of the museum encourages interaction between modern art and history, thus connecting international artists with the cure and creating opportunities for intercultural exchange.

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12.  ANZAC Memorial Center

The museum is a memorial of the soldiers who died during the first world war in Be’er Sheva. The museum is constructed right in front of the soldier’s cemetery, which almost acts as a walkway towards the museum. The architect aimed to design it as an educational center. The cemetery becomes the first step of the user to understand the purpose of the museum and what he will learn in it. Within the museum, bronze statues and photographs are the highlights that narrate the story of the soldiers.

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13. Steinhardt Museum

The museum is located in Tel-Aviv within the premises of the university making it a very significant educational museum. The museum houses an exaggerated natural history collection of Israel. The architect, Kimmel Eshkolot designed the circulation as a connector between visitors on multiple levels. The ramps and hallways were designed to encourage an engaging walk where walls around them were used for exhibition, glass and steel structure was used to design these circulations in order to connect people. The exterior is heavily dominated by the wooden panel that is used as an insulation layer helping to maintain a desirable atmosphere within the museum.

14. Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa

The museum showcases the naval history of the Israeli through an extensive exhibition of naval ships.

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15. Joseph Bau House

An art museum that breaks away from the typical typology of the museum, it stands as a memorial to Joseph Bau, a graphic designer. The museum is a workshop space for the artist that exhibits the story of Joseph Bau through the use of multiple mediums such as movies, photographs, animation, literature, etc., thus maintaining a constant interaction between the past and contemporary art.

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16. Beit Hatfutsot

The museum is located within the premises of Tel-Aviv museum; it is the only museum on Israeli that represents the Jewish community. The museum was designed during the postmodernist era through an extensive competition in which the concept was to reflect the truth, thus to design a space that respects the modernist style while also representing the Jewish community.

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17. Bible Lands Museums

The museum is located in Jerusalem and houses the most extensive collection of global historical culture in Israel. The stone exterior contrasts with the glass entrance, creating a prominent entrance gesture while maintaining a closed interior space where the visitor is able to focus on the exhibits.

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18. Bloomfield Science Museum

The museum is located in Jerusalem, it is designed to accommodate multiple installations indoor and outdoor therefore creating opportunities for interaction. This form of informality in the interaction within a museum was a way to encourage and educate students that are visiting it.

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19. Mishkan Museum of Art

The museum was designed between 1909-1875 by Samuel Bickels, the structure is known for the simplicity and austerity of the exterior and how it stands as a timeless object in its context. The blank façade treatment was a conscious decision made by the architect as he wants the visitor to enjoy the play of natural light in the interior space. A complex collage of skylight and concrete windows create an interesting play of light and shadow in the interior spaces.

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20. Rockefeller Museum

The museum was designed by Austen St. Barbe Harrison, it is known for the design in which the contemporary style, eastern tradition and western traditions are seamlessly merged creating a very authentic experience for the visitor.

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Aqsa is an architecture student and a self-taught writer. With keen interest in urban planning and cartography. She believes that words are the fourth or the unseen dimension of a space that can enable people to connect to spaces more than ever thus aiming to empower the architecture community through her voice.