This project is an intervention project in one of the most iconic sites of modernist Israeli architecture – the Oscar Niemeyer-planned campus of the University of Haifa.
The architecture competition asked for the remodelling of existing library spaces and an addition to house office spaces, an auditorium, and new spaces for library collections. The scheme aimed at extracting the original intentions of the campus while updating its weaker moments. That was achieved by placing the new building under an existing parking lot and creating a new open space between it and the existing library. This open space offers new connections between the two parts, and its unique proportions allow for the evaluation of the linear intensity of the original design.
The material strategy is also meant to amplify the qualities of the original by using updated concrete techniques and placing central elements such as circular concrete stairs as a homage to Niemeyer and his always contemporary approach.
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“.