Architect Chosen and Plans Unveiled for Jerusalem's New National Library

Rafi Segal was one of 81 competitors in the first phase of the selection process, which was held in cooperation with Yad Hanadiv foundation.

Keshet Rosenblum
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Keshet Rosenblum

The architect selected to design the new National Library of Israel in Jerusalem is Rafi Segal, who lives in the United States and teaches at Harvard University and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Segal was one of 81 competitors in the first phase of the selection process, which was held in cooperation with Yad Hanadiv foundation.

In the second phase, the international jury pared down the field to four firms and eight individual architects. Earlier this week the jury chose the three finalists, who were invited to present their projects on Wednesay morning. Segal (who is collaborating on the project with Yonatan Cohen and Matan Meir ) was selected as the preferred candidate. He will be declared the winner after a contract is signed.

Professor Luis Fernandez-Galiano, chairman of of the jury, said at the end of the competition: "The proposal that was selected expresses a good dialogue with the Knesset, the Israel Museum and the public buildings around it. We found it to be modest and at the same time original and unique."

When the National Library's board of directors announced its approval of Segal as the preferred candidate, David Blumberg, the chairman of the board said: "The proposal reflects internalization of the historical significance of the national library and expresses the needs of the library in an age of social and technological change."

Segal earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the Technion's Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Earlier in his career he worked with the architect Zvi Hecker on the planning of the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv, which won the Tel Aviv Municipality's Rokach Prize in Architecture.

In 2008 he won the Zeev Rechter Prize for young architects, awarded by Israel's architects association. He is currently involved in architecture and urban planning in Israel and abroad.

An artist’s impression of the new National Library, based on the plans submitted by Rafi Segal.Credit: Courtesy

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