Younes & Sorarya Nazarian Library, Haifa University

Haifa, Israel

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 remodeling of existing library spaces and an addition to house office spaces, an auditorium, and new spaces for library collections.

Night view ©2011 Amit Geron
Night view ©2011 Amit Geron
Office Space ©2012 Amit Geron
Office Space ©2012 Amit Geron
Interior Perspective ©2012 Amit Geron
Interior Perspective ©2012 Amit Geron
Interior Perspective ©2012 Amit Geron
Interior Perspective ©2012 Amit Geron

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.

Schemes ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Schemes ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.

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 an homage to Niemeyer and his always contemporary approach.

Circular concrete stairs ©2012 Amit Geron
Circular concrete stairs ©2012 Amit Geron

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.

Plaza ©2010 Amit Geron
Plaza ©2010 Amit Geron

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.

Exterior Perspective ©2012 Amit Geron
Exterior Perspective ©2012 Amit Geron

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.”

Project drawings

Plan ©2011 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Plan ©2011 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Cross section ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Cross section ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Patio ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Patio ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Buried Facade ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Buried Facade ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Long section ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Long section ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Section patio ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Section patio ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Handrail detail ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.
Handrail detail ©2007 A. Lerman Architects Ltd.

Project information

ClientHaifa university
SizeNew wing – 5,000㎡, Renovation – 3,000㎡
LocationHaifa, Israel
Principal architectAsaf Lerman
Project architectsphase 1: Lev Konikov, phase 2: Nimrod Schenkelbach
Photo creditAmit Geron

Editing and translation: @Ibo, ©️FULLDES authorized publishing, copyright from the Author, Image copyright from the photographer or Company

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