The National Library of Israel, Jerusalem

Competition, 2012

A Library, as locus of knowledge, heritage and culture, is primarily a physical structure for the safekeeping and preservation of actual books. Nonetheless, it is important to stress that the true value of these literary artifacts is spiritual rather than physical. The ‘Bookcase’ of the Jewish people, of course, was established and flourished for many centuries without a physical library. With this in mind a building was designed that celebrates lightness and transparency for the free flow of ideas. It combines the utmost public exposure, an embrace of the Jerusalem landscape and views, and the creation of an inviting, democratic, and accessible space. This is achieved without compromising the protection and safekeeping of the books, and the wellbeing of the users and workers.

21st Century Library – the proposed building combines the traditional library core with a large assortment of events, encounters, and opportunities, and produces a library experience attractive to all levels of society: a 21st century library for the contemporary visitor, re-imagined as a major national cultural institution for all ages and walks of life.