Computer Science Building opens


This month a new state-of-the-art computer science building opened in the heart of Bar-Ilan’s campus. The new building will serve as a home to future innovations, advancing Israel’s security and prosperity.

The Alexander Grass Computer Science Building is a 7,000 metre (75,000 square foot) structure whose features and design elements combine to advance collaboration and creativity. The building’s centrepiece is an L-shaped innovation hub located in its spacious lobby. Lined with galleries for individual study, the hub includes ten rooms whose seating can be configured according to group and project needs. In addition, all dividing walls are made of glass to encourage student interaction.

Approximately 1,400 students and faculty members will occupy the building, which includes 36 research laboratories, an auditorium, and a 750 square metre (8,000 square foot) learning complex including nine We Work-style study complexes that can be reserved through an app. The research experience focuses on an interdisciplinary approach, and the structure was built to encourage research collaboration with many common “brainstorming spots” for researchers and students. The building was constructed at a cost of NIS 100 million.

Upon completion of the building’s construction, Bar-Ilan CEO and Senior Vice President Zohar Yinon said,

“Bar-Ilan continues to implement its strategic plan to develop its campuses in Ramat Gan and Safed. Two years ago, the construction of two dormitory towers was completed – the most advanced residential experience for students in Israel, accommodating approximately 1,700 students. The Alexander Grass Computer Science Building incorporates a combination of construction and human engineering that, on the one hand, will train the future generation of the startup nation and on the other is a platform for groundbreaking research in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. The combination of research and teaching is an inherent part of our campus, and the new building emphasizes this even more.”

Yinon thanked those who partnered in the planning and construction of the project: Bar-Ilan Deputy Director General of Operations and Logistics Ofer Shragay, Construction Manager Gadi Boganim and team, Architects Shem-Tov Tzruya, Rally Gavrieli, Haim Zoares and Shirley Goldner from Yasky-Mor-Sivan architects, the contractor Shitufit Construction Company, Ltd. and the personnel of CPM Group.

“A computer science degree is incredibly intense. Students spend long days and many nights studying and the experience is all-consuming,” says Bar-Ilan Deputy President Prof. Moshe Lewenstein, a member of the Department of Computer Science who was involved in planning the structure. “When we designed the building, we wanted to create a holistic space that would function as a complete living and learning ecosystem.” The upper floors of the building contain both researchers’ and graduate students’ offices, without separation by hierarchy, two brainstorming areas on each floor, and kitchenettes without walls. “Computer science is a field that thrives on cooperation, and we were determined to create an environment where everyone meets and speaks with everyone else in order to ensure fruitful exchange of ideas and research collaboration,” adds Lewenstein.

A 200 meter (656 foot), two-story Launching Lab allows for safe drone experiments, and its glass wall will enable the larger Bar-Ilan community passing by the building’s exterior to watch student drones during their test flights. Additional laboratories will accommodate research groups in cyber security and cryptography, AI and robotics, algorithms and computer-science theory, game theory and natural language processing.

The project was managed by Bar-Ilan’s Operations Department, led by Deputy Director General Ofer Shragay and Construction Manager Gadi Boganim. The building was designed by Architects Shem-Tov Tzruya, Rally Gavrieli, Haim Zoares and Shirley Goldner from Yasky-Mor-Sivan architects, and supervised by Sagi Gardosh from CPM Group.