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Rafi Segal scoops Israeli national library job

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New York-based Rafi Segal has been appointed to design a new National Library of Israel in Jerusalem

Segal was one of four Israeli architects - including Daniel Assayag, Gil Even-Tsur and David Zarhy - selected from 81 anonymous entries to the contentious competition. The four joined eight invited international and Israeli architects in the contest’s second round.

The twelve remaining proposals were then assessed by an international jury which selected a shortlist of three.

Segal was chosen as the preferred architect from this shortlist and will be declared winner once formal agreements have been signed. The architectural designs are currently being developed in dialogue with the client.  

Jury chair Luis Fernandez Galianore said: ‘The [winning] proposal creates a positive dialogue with the Knesset, the Israel Museum and other public buildings in the vicinity. We found it to be modest yet original and unique. The Jury, whose members represent a range of cultures and disciplines, assessed each proposal thoroughly and engaged in thoughtful deliberations prior to reaching the decision’.

David Blumberg, National Library board chair, said:  ‘The proposal reflects a deep understanding of the historical significance of the National Library; sensitivity to the special place of the Library in Jerusalem and will give expression to the needs of the Library in an era of social and technological transformation’.

Israeli architects previously condemned the contest’s organisers for fast-tracking architects to the second round.

The invited international companies were: David Chipperfield Architects; Japan’s Shigeru Ban and Bohlin, Cywinski and Jackson and Moshe Safdie from the United States. The invited Israeli practices are Chyutin, Ada Karmi-Melamede, Mayslits-Kassif and Carlos Prus.

The library is planned to be built in Jerusalem’s national precinct – home to the Knesset (Israeli parliament), Hebrew University and Israel Museum.

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