ODA Hebrew Language Academy

Academy of the Hebrew Language

Competition Entry

ODA's proposed concept for the Academy of the Hebrew Language's new headquarters is meant as an orientation point for the entire cultural district — a place for worlds, languages, and history to collide and meld together, as Israel has been for centuries. Nestled between the Israel Museum, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the future site of the National Library, the academy and museum offers a fluidity of perspectives and connections between its rich surroundings.

We organized the design to follow the curve of the adjacent street. While it transforms in three dimensions to the rectilinear shapes of the Jerusalem botanic gardens, and national library beyond. The value of its innovative design lies in its elevation and the creation of a public park connecting the surrounding grounds. The landscaped rooftop becomes a natural extension of the surrounding park, filled with indigenous plants and multi-leveled green roofs. from the distance, the design looks like a large sculpture in the center of the park, undulating in all directions. 

Academy of the Hebrew Language ODA

The Academy of Hebrew Language by ODA is designed to offer two major access points through the north plaza and the south plaza. From each plaza the form allows visitors to ascend from the ground to two vantage points offering captivating views of the surrounding district. The building’s form, like language itself, becomes an important function in connecting a diverse group of visitors and citizens alike.

ODA Museum

The academy of the hebrew language represents, and determines, how the hebrew language has continually evolved and grown from ancient times to modern day. The academics who drive the academy are part of a continuum that represents the history and traditions of a people. ODA’s design is meant as a translation, quite literally with the façade design expressing the linear arrangement of the hebrew phrase referencing the tower of babel and its myth of the origin of multiple languages. Abstracted from the historic original Hebrew characters, to the modern square Hebrew characters and ultimately applied to the façade through vertical graphic manipulation, the Jerusalem stone façade can be developed into a literal expression of the Hebrew language.

ODA Museum
ODA Museum

The public section of the academy, the museum display, and guided activities are open to a variety of audiences. At the center and gallery, visitors will embrace their consciousness and expand their familiarity with the Hebrew language, and understand its importance, uniqueness, and impact on their personal identity, the essence of Israeli society, and beyond.

ODA Museum

Project Details

Jerusalem, Israel


ODA Design Team
Eran Chen AIA Michael Unsicker AIA Michelle Le Matt Boker, Steven Kocher, Alex Rossetti
Dunksy Tsafnat (Architect of Record) Secchi Smith (Renderings)


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