The Michael and Anna Wix Auditorium
Architects: Arieh Sharon and Benjamin Idelson
The Michael and Anna Wix Auditorium, designed by the architects Arieh Sharon and Benjamin Idelson in 1955, is the largest performance hall (620 seats) on the Weizmann Institute campus, with a large, well-equipped stage. True to Modernism, it lacks decoration; its majestic splendor is inherent in the building itself.
Ten double-height columns support the building’s massive roof – a modern interpretation of the Hellenistic temples and public buildings that were fronted by rows of columns supporting a triangular pediment, such as the famous Temple of Nika or the Parthenon in Athens. Here, the classic columns and triangular pediment have given way to plaster-coated rectangular columns, which support a massive straight gable. At night, lighting installed above the narrow space between the columns and the building’s glass façade adds to the dramatic impact of the tall columns, with their narrow sides facing outward.
Much attention has been paid to the design of the entrance canopy. Light-colored plaster connects the canopy to the building itself, behind supporting dark columns. The nine lamps of the canopy’s underside illuminate and mark the entrance. The sign above it projects modesty, with its black letters, in a font characteristic of the period, held up by two white lines.
The wide lobby, too, is designed in the Minimalist Style, using simple materials. The division into levels separated by stairs creates several event areas: The lower level functions as a reception room with a buffet and is accessed by three wide stairs flanked by a ramp providing access for the disabled; the upper level has a door leading to the upper part of the auditorium.
In 1978, the stage was widened, actors’ dressing rooms were provided and the air-conditioning system was upgraded.