Buildings at Ben Gurion University collect prestigious international architecture prizesTwo buildings at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), in Israel, designed by Los Angeles architect Raquel Vert, have been awarded first prize in two different categories in the “Best Project of the year 2008/9 Competition”. Vert, of Vert Architects received the two prestigious first prizes for outstanding architectural design of the Deichmann Building for Community Action and the Spitzer-Salant Building for the Department of Social Work, which form a single complex at BGU in Beersheva. The buildings beat 300 other entries from around the world to win first prize for Best Project of 2008/9 by the European Union. This competition is the most prestigious and influential architectural contest in Europe and Israel. The BGU complex also received the Yuli Offer first prize for “Advancing Architecture in Israel”, a prize awarded to the top three projects submitted for all categories in the Best Project of 2008/9 competition.
Vert established a branch office in Israel in 2004 and was commissioned to design the two BGU buildings, which comprise an integrated complex that defines the entrance to BGU through a piazza that links the town of Beersheva with the campus. The goal of the connection was to reach out to the citizens of the Negev beyond the university boundaries.