National Library of Jerusalem


Art & Build submits an open, adaptable and evolutive proposal for the New Library of Israel (Jerusalem - Competition 2012).
The design embodies a story - a history even – an unbroken, linear body emerging from the sediment of the past, rising, evolving, and suddenly animated into a body which spreads out to embrace the sky.This is an architecture which unites a new building with an historic institution. A programmatic ‘strip’ is looped around to enable fundamental physical connections between spaces, such as the public entrance area at ground level which is connected to the magnificent reading rooms.
The facades have been designed in order to further express the architectural narrative, while contributing to the buildings ecological effectiveness. Symbolically, the evolution of the facades as the building rises and twists through space parallels the history of writing itself, and reminds us of our universal cultural bonds.
Care has been taken to ensure that the building’s ‘5th facade’ or roof – largely visible from the neighbouring Knesset - enhances the strong architectural gesture, all the while offering functional opportunities and environmental benefits. Natural light and ventilation to central cores is possible through horizontal vents. The stepping up of successive layers provides roof areas perfectly suited to open air performances, and these areas are designed as mini-amphitheatres. Intensive planting is also possible to selected roof areas, providing insulation and water retention.
The proposal draws upon inspiration from a number of environmental approaches. Energy consumption and cooling requirements are kept low by reducing the above grade volumes to a minimum. Storm water and rain water is channelled and held in the ‘fault lines’ running through the site, which enable lush vegetation to grow in the central haven of the patio. These plants, through their transpiration, enable a micro-climate to form, cooling the air and further reducing cooling loads upon the building. Other zones created by the new site topography provide micro-climates themselves, encouraging a multitude of planting schemes which invite bio-diversity, all the while reducing risks of allergy-provoking organisms.

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