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Architecture: YBGSNA

Location: Giv'at Ram, Jerusalem

Client: The National Library

Area: 45,000 m2

An International Competition

The National Library

In our scheme we interpreted the proposed site as a classic "flatiron" typology, which divides the traffic into two dominant routes, the Rupin Road and Kaplan Boulevard. In this urban "fork", we decided to insert a monolithic building mass, which by smooth formal gestures, allows the expression of a unique design language, negotiating the topographical differences between Rupin Road and Kaplan Boulevard and the creation of entrances and public plazas around a significant urban building.

The internal arrangement of the building is based on a symbiosis of somewhat opposing public activities. The "heart" of the building appears in our proposal as a quiet contemplative patio space. This feature is wrapped by the research facilities and reading rooms allowing for a tranquil atmosphere detached from everyday life. Adjacent to it but separate, is a public, popular flow composed of a variety of activities.

This dynamic volumetric space is characterized by experiential transitions woven into a linear process, which connects the main entrance on Rupin Road to the upper minor entrance on Kaplan Boulevard. In this way, the main lobby, the visitors' center, the auditorium, the display areas on the ramp, the stores and the restaurants, all form a continuous thread tying together the interior functions into the exterior urban fabric.


The local tradition and the municipal requirement to use natural stone, along with the desire to create an open and airy structure, led us to develop an envelope solution in which the stone does not function as a structural element. Instead, the entire façade of the building is composed as a curtain of vertical stone mullions, which allowed us to negotiate with great ease the rigid stone bars geometry with the curvilinear forms while keeping the interior space both open and protected. Also, the homogeneity of the stone detail wrapped around a curvilinear perimeter creates a quiet, open, soft and even modest appearance which nevertheless retains a clear tectonic presence.

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