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Herzog & de Meuron wins re-launched library of Israel contest

Herzog & de Meuron has won a controversial competition to design the new National Library of Israel, following the collapse of the previous contest

The Swiss outfit has been appointed four months after Israeli architect Rafi Segal was ousted amid a copyright row despite being been named preferred architect during the scheme’s first contest .

Project backer the National Library Construction Company launched a fresh contest to design a new home for the 120-year-old library in March.

Earlier this month Segal urged architects to boycott the re-launched contest. The New York and Jerusalem-based architect has also launched a legal challenge to be reinstated on the project and a court hearing is due to deliberate on the matter in the Jerusalem Municipal Court on 8 May.

Herzog & de Meuron was chosen ahead of Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry and Israeli architects Ammar Curiel, Kimmel Eshkolot and Kolker Kolker Epstein for the high-profile job.

The Pritzker Prize-winner was selected following a 90 minute interview with the competition jury. Unlike the previous contest entrants were not asked to submit detailed plans for the building.

In a statement, the National Library Construction Company said: ‘The panel was extraordinarily impressed by the commitment shown by Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron, as well as by the strengths and promise 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.’

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