Herzog & de Meuron selected to design National Library of Israel in Jerusalem
The National Library Construction Company announced today that Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have been selected to design the new home of the National Library of Israel. The practice bested five firms including Ammar Curiel (Israel), Frank Gehry (USA), Kimmel Eskolot (Israel), Kollker Kolker Epstein (Israel) and Renzo Piano (Paris, Italy). A competition for the scheme was held in 2012 and the final selection of Herzog & de Meuron has been approved by the Board of Directors of the National Library and the Board of Directors of the National Library Construction Company (non-profit).
The press release announcing Herzog & de Meuron’s selection for the project stated that while the panel ‘was aware of the many significant works of these Pritzker Prize laureates it was extraordinarily impressed by the commitment shown as well as by the strengths of their architectural approach - their handling of the natural and urban landscape, the connection with the surrounding institutions and the interpretation of the Library programme. It was both innovative and clearly focused’.
The architect selection panel, headed by Prof Luis Fernandez-Galiano, included Prof. Elinoar Kommissar-Barzachi, Lord Rothschild, Chair of Yad Handadiv, and David Blumber, Chair of the Libary. The Library will be located in Jerusalem’s national precinct (Kiryat HaLeom) and encompass approximately 31,000 sq m.
The esteemed jury panel made their final decision following 90-minute interviews with each architect and came to their conclusion after considering a number of factors including professional qualifications, reliability and personality, previous experience in public buildings, and conceptual outlook. An earlier statement by the National Library of Israel explains that ‘in choosing between candidates of similar qualifications, priority will be given to an Israeli architect’. Herzog & de Meuron are based in Switzerland.