Leading Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron has just revealed its design for the upcoming National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, which will be the largest in Isreal. The 34,000 square-meter structure, located in the same complex as Israel’s parliament, the Israel Museum, the Science Museum and the Hebrew University, was designed together with Israeli architecture firm, Shinar Architects.
According to the Swiss-Israeli team, construction on the complex will begin in 2016 and is set to be completed by 2019. The structure will have a huge oculus opening in its roof, providing for lots of natural day light in the four-story structure. The international firm, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, was chosen for the ambitious project after native Israeli architect Rafi Segal was released from his position due to copyright issues, according to “Dezeen Magazine.”
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Aside from its function as Israel’s largest public library, the complex will house research laboratories, offices, educational facilities, a visitor’s center, a multipurpose hall and a climate-controlled archive. Herzog & de Meuron described the building’s design: “The strong, sculptural form of the stone, related to the specific topography and context of the site, is elevated off the ground, and situated above vitrine like elements.”
Herzog & de Meuron is an architecture firm famous for the design of London’s Tate Modern, as well as the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games. More recently, the firm has engaged in ‘environmentally-friendly’ projects, like a biologically filtered swimming pool in Switzerland and an open-air gymnasium in Brazil. The firm was chosen to complete the project in April 2013 after Segal was dismissed for potential copyright infringements in his winning design.
Photos: Herzog de Meuron