National Library of Israel



Through the form of a floating monolith that visually connects to the foundations of Parliament, the library underscores the idea that education and learning are the bedrock of democracy. The pure form of the monolith contains the library’s most essential function—the reading room. This volume rests on a mountain-like base that extends the surrounding topography. Invoking the Israeli tradition of building, the mountain is excavated to reveal a dynamic hub of programming within the cavern.

Protected by the monolith, a public plaza located directly opposite the Parliament building marks the beginning of a journey of learning. Stepping into the excavated space of the mountain, visitors have several choices. Climbing the mountain, visitors discover a mix of events including permanent and temporary exhibitions. Venturing below, visitors can learn about the treasure collections and have a glimpse of the building’s operating systems. Throughout the journey, light acts an attractive force, sequentially intensifying and ebbing to orient and guide visitors.

The library is an extension of both the natural and cultural landscape, physically and conceptually tying together the most powerful components of the surrounding district. The building draws on history as it looks the future, celebrating the quest for knowledge in its expansive reading room. The new National library of Israel is a living place—a destination, site of learning, and catalyst for engagement.

Location: Derech Ruppin, Jerusalem, Israel

Client: Undisclosed

Size: 44100 SF

Team: Eran Chen, Kyriakos Kyriakou, Juan Roque Urrutia, Chrysokona Mavrou, Berardo Matalucci, Ana Arnandis, Ilaria Pedrini