Younes & Soraya Nazarian Library, Haifa University Expansion & Renovation of the main library (O. Niemeyer. 1962-8)Approaching the design of the new Haifa university campus in a site overlooking the port town from the top of the Carmel ridge, Niemeyer stated…”The overwhelming beauty of the site clearly calls for a compact solution, simple but monumental.”Niemeyer’s design was in direct opposition to the conventional typology of the campus. His proposal was a condensation its dispersed layout into a single structure designed to accommodate all programs under a single, giant roof. Public passages and halls were laid out in order to differentiate programs from one another and act as meeting places for the campus dwellers. In this unique university, collecting students from all over the north of the Israel and creating a mixed racial (60% Jew/Arab 40%) body of students, Niemeyer’s vision of an - “Inter-disciplinary plural academism of maximum interaction” could be best implemented.In the 35 years that have passed since the library’s opening the building witnessed many changes. Its 270m long by 70m wide, open plan, has been repeatedly changed as the building served an ever-increasing number of students and staff. As a result the fluent open spaces that were its key feature, have been compressed by endless ill planned partitions.The competitions brief demanded a solution for the problem of crowdedness. It included a detailed program for an additional building that would accommodate the library’s staff. It also specified (without location) the library’s need for a “central core” as a diverse information space and a place for encounter between students and staff.The proposal uses the brief in-order to initiate a constructive process of critique.Both “ends” of the building; the rigid romantics of the original plan, as well as the chaotic maze of its current un-plan, are analyzed in order to articulate an intervention capable of generating a parallel shift.While the un-plan is criticized for its obvious pettiness, the original design is criticized for its grandness, as is best demonstrated in Niemeyer’s magnificent abstract model. Shot against the horizon at sun set from what can be described only as a heavenly angle, the model reveals the monumental scale of the scheme as well as the distance that is required in order to perceive it. Magnificent and bold it is a courageous achievement of a true modern master who seized the opportunity to demonstrate his profound understanding of scale and proportion, put to use in-order to create this free form expressionist composition.His scheme was not designed to fit into landscape. The design cleared away the site from its natural context and created an artificial landscape in the shape of a giant rectangular plain, on to which free forms would be laid out. In doing so he created a new artificial and monolithic contour to the Carmel ridge that would become the much loved/hated symbol of the Haifa metropolis.On the other hand, the gigantic interior of the scheme appears to have been designed almost separately, having to comply with the compositional guidelines of the overall scheme. The 270m long building hardly allows for any connection to the exterior. The depth of the building creates a dark and unpleasant interior. The public passages at the center axis are all artificially lit and seem to force an endless interior on pedestrians who appear to rush through it rather than stop and interact.The proposal is developed from within in-order to create an interactive relationship between interior and exterior and aims to offer diversity rather than to force dialog.It seeks to dissolve the boundary between in & out and generate a shift in the spacial hierarchy of the deep structure and its single transparent façade. It does so by claiming two adjacent un-used exterior spaces for the use of the library: the open patio and the roof.The central core is located at the top floor in order to clear away the space from the partitions and sub divisions in order to expose the potential of the free plan and to allow daylight in from another façade. The staff offices are relocated at a new building parallel to the existing one.Gravity poles and pedestrian flow.The central pedestrian route cuts through the building at the lower floor and connects the two main activity poles on its opposite ends.Following the route the library’s entrance appears as a secondary and random event along its path: The lack of an entry hall to negotiate between the small scale of the entrance and the enormity of the library’s volume, the lack of efficient connection to the top floor, the distance from the building’s entrances. All these elements combined together form a real operative problem for library users who have to walk at list 300 meters from the nearest entrance to the building, one floor above, before they reach the library it self.There is an obvious disproportion between the library- by far the biggest and most important entity in the campus- and the way it is perceived and used.Relocating the entrance - Proposed flow diagram - new gravity centerThe detachment between the library entrance at the lower floor and the building entrance at the upper floor is solved by relocating the library entrance to the top floor. Adjacent to the building main entrance, the library is clearly positioned the as the central element in the building.A new gravity center is thus formed directly in the center of the building. Though the main entrance was always there, it has lost its significance due to the lack of adjacent programs – it never led anywhere, and the two poles at the opposite ends of the pedestrian route gained significance through the accommodation of various programs (coffee house, restaurant, shop, bank.)The scheme uses the same tactics, attracting similar programs in adjacency to the new center. We also propose a new circulation element – a spiraling ramp that will connect all 3 floors of the building and will form a light chimney. The ramp simplifies and clarifies circulation and orientation in the building and turns the movement into a fluent experience that negotiates interior (library) and exterior (patio).