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Younes & Soraya Nazarian Library, Haifa University

Expansion & Renovation of the main library (O. Niemeyer. 1962-8)

Approaching the design of the new Haifa university campus in a site overlooking the port town from the top of the Carmel ridge, Niemeyer stated…”The overwhelming beauty of the site clearly calls for a compact solution, simple but monumental.”

 

Despite the fact the mega structure strayed away from Niemeyer's control, its dominating silhouette stands as the most radical modern structure to have been attempted in Israel.

  

The intervention mads use of the pragmatic brief to extract the modern promise of the original design. As the grand master's design was diluted by local adjustments right from the start, our intervention was aimed at restoring some of its original attributes while on the other hand, to provoke its fundamentals.

 

BRASILIA ON MOUNT CARMEL, Z. Elhyani, Harretz:  "A building that is not an object, devoid of any obvious form and without any facades, sits dug in, hidden, visible only from up close. As such, the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Library, designed by architect Asaf Lerman, is an architectural statement that is diametrically opposed to Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer's monumental 1964 plan for the University of Haifa campus. Paradoxically, however, it is also a critical and intelligent architectural tribute that successfully takes on Niemeyer's radical modernism, unlike the dozens of post-modernist structures that were heaped upon the campus through the years, irreversibly undermining its original qualities."

 

Photographs by Amit Geron.

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