Art Vandelay Designed These…Didn’t Take Very Long, Either

Awesome Israeli Architecture – The Top 10 must-see buildings of Israel.

Cross-posted at Israellycool.

Technically, Art Vandelay was never an architect himself on Seinfeld. He was, at times, a fictitious importer/exporter, a counterfeit author, the fabricated head of a latex conglomerate, and in the series finale, a real judge. But since his first appearance (Season 1, Episode 2) involved George pretending to be an architect for the first time, I tend to relate that character to the fervent desire to pretend to be an architect (sorry I can’t embed that video).

So on that note, ISRAEL21c presents An Art Vandelay Retrospective The Top 10 must-see buildings of Israel

The Top 10 must-see buildings of Israel

By Abigail Klein Leichman
February 05, 2012

From Byzantine, to Bauhaus, Israel has dozens of architectural styles that blend beautifully into the landscape of the Holy Land. ISRAEL21c brings you the top 10.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but ISRAEL21c has attempted to identify some of the most striking buildings in the land. There is more than enough to choose from, as modern Israel’s architecture is an eclectic mix of the ancient to the avant-garde.

1. The International YMCA, Jerusalem

Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash 90
The YMCA in Jerusalem was designed by the Empire State Building architect.

A landmark on the Jerusalem skyline, the YMCA was designed by Arthur Louis Harmon, the same architect behind the Empire State Building. Like its New York cousin, the YMCA was the tallest building in the city at the time of its opening around 1935.

Harmon wanted to embrace the architectural traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, so the YMCA’s design has elements of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and neo-Moorish styles and its foundation contains stones from quarries believed to have been used in the construction of the Second Temple. Forty columns in the courtyard represent the 40 years of Israelite desert wanderings as well as the 40 days of temptation of Jesus, while the 12 windows in the auditorium and 12 cypress trees in the garden symbolize the 12 tribes, the 12 disciples of Jesus and the 12 followers of Mohammed.

The Jerusalem YMCA is considered the most beautiful YMCA building in the world. At the top of the 50-meter tower is a relief figure of the six-winged seraph described by the prophet Isaiah. The capitals of two entryway columns depict the Woman of Samaria mentioned in the Gospels and a lamb represents Jesus.

2. Mivtachim Sanatorium/Hotel, Zichron Yaacov

Award-winning former convalescence home, soon to be a hotel.

Architect Yacov Rechter, who also designed the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center and other iconic buildings, won the 1973 Israel Prize for the Mivtachim Sanatorium. Originally part of a healthcare campus in the Carmel mountains, the long unused 7,752-square-meter structure will get a second lease on life as a boutique hotel set to open this spring with 80 rooms, an art gallery, two concert halls and a recording studio.

The elongated design follows the lines of the topography and is open along its entire length to vistas over the Mediterranean Sea. “The greatness of the project is the way it crowns the mountain,” says Beni Levy, dean of the Architecture School at Ariel University Center.

I’ve been to several of them, but some of these new ones are breathtaking. See the complete list at, but in the meantime, here are a few more pics of the new hotness:

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