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Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences for Visiting Scientists

Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences for Visiting Scientists *

The Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences provide a home for visiting scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences were built in 1963.  The residences were donated by the Samuel Lunenfeld Charitable Foundation and Reuben Kunin of Toronto, Canada. Lunenfeld-Kunin was designed by the Israeli architect Yakov Rechter.

The Residences are in northern Rehovot, on the corner of First President Road (Weizmann, not Washington) and Rabbi Herzog Road.

Who was Samuel Lunenfeld?

The Samuel Lunenfeld Charitable Foundation is funded from the estate of the late Samuel Lunenfeld. The Foundation supports religious, charitable and educational activities. Samuel Lunenfeld, was a wealthy steel magnate and real-estate developer. Mr. Lunenfeld established a foundation in his name in 1954. Mr. Lunenfeld died in 1986.

Who was Sybil Kunin?

When Sybil Kunin was the daughter of  Samuel Lunenfeld. Sybil, her husband Reuben and son Mitchell continued Mr. Lunenfeld’s tradition of giving – by supporting the Lunenfeld Charitable Foundation.  Ms. Kunin passed away in Toronto.

Architect Yakov Rechter

Yakov Rechter, born in Tel Aviv in 1924, was the son of Ze’ev Rechter, one of the fathers of Israeli architecture. Yakov joined his father’s architectural firm. Among his five children are the actress Dafna Rechter and the musician Yoni Rechter.
Rechter’s architecture is Modernist in style; he preferred to use hard, traditional materials, such as stone and concrete, while taking into account environmental conditions. He was awarded the Israel Prize in architecture in 1972.
Rechter designed the  Charles Bronfman Auditorium previously Frederic R. Mann Auditorium (1957) and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center (TAPAC- or The Golda Center for Performing Arts – Hamishkan Le Aumanuyot Habama) (1994), and the Cameri Theater – all in Tel Aviv.
On the Rehovot campus of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rechter’s works include the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger Life Sciences Library, the Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences for Visiting Scientists, and Europe House.

The Israel Ministry of Education awards the Rechter Prize – second only to the Israel Prize in its importance in local architecture – in his and his father’s memory.

The Design of the Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences

The Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences for Visiting Scientists is a two-story residential building in the south-eastern part of the Weizmann Institute campus, close to Hanassi Harishon Street and is part of a residential complex that also includes Europe House, to its east.
  • A partial basement floor, containing multiple apartments.
  • The longitudinal structure consists of a many geometric structures of different sizes, arranged in two wings and connected by an open green courtyard that runs the length of the building, and a vertical motion system.
  • The building’s large dimensions (45 × 54 m) are made practically imperceptible by its puzzle-like structure, which creates numerous views and situations both inside and outside the building during the different hours of the day.
  • The structure is built of bare concrete that uses the material and lack thereof (i.e., space, light, and shade) equally, with innumerable details that endow the building with uniqueness.

Weizmann Institute of Science – interactive map : The Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences are in the upper right hand side.

Ha-Merkava Square – Kikar Ha Merkava

In the square across the street from the Lunenfeld-Kunin Residences stands a monument in honor of General Israel Tal, the “Father of the Merkava Tank”. Tal was born in Rehovot and was a resident of Rehovot. The monument was designed by Varda Givoli  in 2010. The rear side of the Merkava tank is in the air, while the front side of the tank is a bed of flowers – a hope for peace. The dedication was held in 21 April, 2010 with the participation of Gen. Tal and his family. The statue is close to an elementary school and a kindergarten. Many neighbours disliked a military statue near the school, especially if the front half of the tank is buried in the ground. There is common agreement that Gen. Tal deserves the honor, but one does not make a memorial for a tank. Some Rehovot citizens questioned if it was correctg to build a memorial during Tal’s lifetime?

Israel Tal (1924 – 2010) known as Talik , a general in the  Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who created of the Israeli armored doctrine that led to the Israeli successes in the conquest of  the Sinai Peninsula of the Six-Day War. In 1970, the Israeli government decided it needed an independent tank-building capabilit. Tal led the development team that took into consideration Israel lessons learned from previous wars, and began the development and building of Israel’s Merkava tank.


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