International Convention Center (Jerusalem)
The International Convention Centre (Hebrew: מרכז הקונגרסים הבינלאומי, Merkaz HaKongresim HaBeinLeumi), commonly known as Binyenei HaUma (Hebrew: בנייני האומה, lit. Buildings of the nation), is a concert hall and conventional center in Giv'at Ram in Jerusalem, Israel. It is the largest convention center in the Middle East.
Binyenei Ha'Uma was first envisioned by Alexander Ezer (who later became its managing director) and planned by architect Ze'ev Rechter who won the design competition in 1949. The complex was under construction from 1950 to 1963, though it began operations in 1956 with a meeting of the World Zionist Organization. The period of economic difficulty and austerity in the first decade of Israeli independence meant frequent disruption in construction due to lack of funds, and the project was sometimes disparagingly known as Chirbet HaUma, the National Ruin. Rechter's design was a solid structure faced in Jerusalem stone. Instead of a monumental relief by artists Joseph Zaritsky and Yitzhak Danziger as originally planned, the facade was covered with azure-coloured glass panels.
Located opposite the Jerusalem Central Bus Station at the western entrance to town, the centre houses 27 halls capable of seating over 10,000 people, and is a member of the AIPC and ICCA and conforms to their international standards. Its largest hall, the Menahem Ussishkin auditorium, seats 3,104. In all, 12,000 square metres of exhibit space extend over two levels and ten display areas.
Binyenei Ha'Uma is the home of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. The complex has hosted many international events, among them the Eurovision Song Contest 1979, Eurovision Song Contest 1999 and the Jerusalem International Book Fair. The trial of John Demjanjuk was held there.
Future building plans
Plans are being discussed to enlarge the ICC by 30,000 square meters, doubling of the parking space, adding three office towers, commercial space and a hotel.
The Center figures as a historical setting in Robert J. Sawyer's 1997 novel Frameshift. It serves as a post-World War II venue for a war crimes trial, in which a Nazi camp guard is prosecuted for atrocities against the Jewish prisoners.
- International Convention Centre -- Binyanei Ha'Ooma WCities Destination Guide
- Sliding up the Rechter Scale, Haaretz
- ICC website
- "An International Convention Center deserving of the name". GoJerusalem.com. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- Jerusalem: Nightlife & the Arts Fodor's
- Sawjer, Robert J. Frameshift. Tor, 1997, pp. 46-51.
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