Proposed National Library Brings Herzog & de Meuron to Israel

Daniel Rauchwerger Daniel Rauchwerger

On Thursday, the National Library of Israel released initial details and renderings of its new building, designed by the acclaimed Swiss architecture office Herzog & de Meuron. Construction of the new structure, situated between the Israeli Knesset and the Israel Museum, is due to start in 2016 and finish in 2019.

The building will be the award-winning office’s first project in Israel. They were commissioned to plan the new National Library after a long and controversial architectural competition, during which the organizers dismissed the original competition winner, Israeli architect Rafi Segal, due to copyright issues.

The building will provide a total floor space of 365, 970 square feet, of which approximately 204,515 will be underground. A central reading room, open spaces for education and study, a visitors’ center, and multipurpose spaces make up the majority of the building’s above-ground levels. Its basement stories will house parking and book stacks, as well as offices and conservation labs. The new building’s design aims to be energy efficient, though library officials have yet to document the specifics.

For Herzog & de Meuron, the project represents the ambitions and the values of the National Library. “The building itself — its sculptural stone work, and its topographic planning that corresponds with the institutions around it — creates an open and inviting interaction with the public and with the library’s users,” the firm said in a statement.

David Blumberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Library, added,“The new building is the highlight of the National Library’s renewal process. It will supply the Library with a proper establishment and allow it to develop its various activities and responsibilities.”

All images via Herzog & de Meuron and the National Library of Israel