Emet Prize Laureates

Architect Yaakov Yaar

2014 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Culture and Art
In Field: Architecture

Yaakov Yaar

Jury Statement

“The EMET Prize is awarded to Yaacov Yaar for for his years of dedication to the planning and design of public urban space in Israel, for his contribution to public housing and the scope of his work in conservation and renewal, based on his understanding of the needs of the individual, the environment, and the society.”


ArchitectYaacov Yaar was born in Germany in 1929 and immigrated to Palestine with his family at the age of five. He attended the Ohel Shem School in Ramat Gan, and the Gymnasia Herzlia in Tel Aviv. After completing high school he served in the Jewish Settlement Police and in the Israeli Defense Forces. Upon his release from military service in the fall of 1949, he studied architecture at the Haifa Technion, graduating cum laude in 1953, followed later by a diploma in Engineering (Arch). He worked as an architect for five years in the offices of Sharon-Idelson in Tel Aviv and then established his own architectural practice together with his wife, architect Ora (Gerstenfeld) Yaar.

From the start of their careers, they worked primarily in planning public and social projects, including neighborhoods for new immigrants, young couples and evacuees from distressed areas. These projects included designing Giv’at Ha-Moreh in Afula, Neve Rassco in Ramat Ha-Sharon, and the Eli Cohen neighborhood in Kfar Sava during the 1960’s. In the 1970’s they planned the Kfir neighborhood in Tel Aviv, winning the Rokach Prize along with landscape architect Hillel Omer (the poet Ayin Hillel). They designed Pisgat Ze’ev in Jerusalem during the 1980’s and in the following decade Yaacov Yaar planned Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem and HaMashtela in Tel Aviv.

From 2000 onwards Yaacov Yaar and his partners, Aviv Yaar and Talli Yaar-Kost, designed Kikar HaShuk on the site of the former Tel Aviv wholesale market, as well as new neighborhoods throughout the country in towns that include Kiryat Shmona, Rosh HaAyin, Modi’in, Netivot, and Kiryat Gat.

In the course of his career Yaacov Yaar held several public positions including President of the Association of Israel Architects. He taught for many years at the Faculty of Architecture of the Technion and, subsequently, the School of Architecture at Tel Aviv University.

He was recognized for his work in 2007 when he was awarded the Israel Prize for Architecture. Other awards include the Rokach Prize, first for his role in the renewal of the Old City of Jaffa and subsequently for the planning of the Kfir neighborhood, the Uzzi Rosen Prize of the Jerusalem Architects’ Association for his work on restoration of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kaplan Prize for design, development, and construction of Pisgat Ze’ev in Jerusalem.