Academy Building Van Leer Jerusalem

Program: Academic Building Campus Master plan | Location: Jerusalem | Area: Campus 26.5 Acres; Building 5700 sqm | Status: 2nd prize competition winner

collaboration with Kimmel Eshkolot



This unique academic building was designed to be the heart of the campus in more ways than one:

Geographically – as it stands in the heart of the campus

Physically- as it connects to other surrounding buildings and provides the necessary link between all campus parts

Methodically – as it contains the accumulated knowledge, housing the main library.


POSITION: The integration within the campus dictated the building proportions;

The building facades have restrained elegance in the character of the other campus buildings, giving only a hint of the interior spaces drama.


SEMI-UNDERGROUND ARCHITECTURE: Exploiting the topography and using spaces dug into the hill make it possible to preserve the correct proportions of the building.

The axis of entrance and the main staircase descend to the library and face the view.



The presence of the library in all spaces of the building, both symbolically and factually, permits direct access for researchers from all levels of the building.

The library evolves more and more into a meeting place between people and ideas, the lower library will serve visitors, whereas the main library is reserved for faculty members.



A library destined to grow over the years dictated architecture of a tectonic wall of shelves, reaching an overall height of 16.5 m. It can contain an ever- growing collection of books, and the building will celebrate the steady increase of the collection of titles.



Intellectual meetings and brainstorming occupy a central position in the building and as such they are part of the library inner space allowing vistas into the library and vise versa while offering balconies to the library’s activities on its roofs.



The envelope creates shade by incorporating horizontal stone louvers which filter natural light while permitting maximal transparency and exposure to the view; they allow complex external-internal relationships, while preserving privacy in the researchers' rooms.