Location: Ohel Shem, High
client : Ramat-Gan Foundation
completion date : 1996
At the opening ceremony of the library the mayor said: “This
library, one of the most dignified in the country, will be a
cornerstone and a contribution to the education and preparation of the
young generation for the future. It will teach the young that spiritual
and moral values are of essence and should be their guiding
It seemed to me that beyond its value as a resource
center, the creation of an aesthetic learning environment that can be
experienced by the students in the library will be an educational
and cultural value in itself.
The spiritual experience and the pleasant ambience I wanted to create
for the reader was deeply rooted in the physical structure and the
spatial order of the building.
The building itself was situated between two preserved
rows of old fichus trees, which dictated the building’s
A wide entrance stairway leads to the entrance balcony, where students
can “hang out” if they choose. The shaded balcony
and the stairway serve as a transition area, which simultaneously
connects and separates the building and the school’s main
The color chosen for the exterior walls was the hue of
the golden leaves that fall outside the building in the autumn. Yellow
pigments were mixed with the plaster, creating a perfect harmony with
the greenness of the trees and the blue sky.
The interior of the building consists of a sequence of
spaces that lead one into another; all visually connected.
The entrance hall is an interim space, designated to slow the pace and
lower the voice of those entering the library, providing space for the
The entrance room opens to an open space forming an interim area before
entering the reading hall. In here are the catalogues, the copy
machines and the display alcove for the new books.
The librarian’s counter is placed at a central position in
the main reading room. That area is clearly marked by a
seven-meter-high arched ceiling. The reading areas at both sides of the
main room are built as alcoves that are openly related to the central
space, each one dedicated to a specific subject.
In contrast to contemporary libraries, where there is a clear
separation between the sitting area and the bookshelves, here the
bookshelves embrace the readers, forming an
intimate relationship between the reader and the books. Each window at
the center of the reading alcoves was aligned according to the position
of the trees.
The reading room opens to the music and periodicals section. Here the
students can lean back in soft armchairs, read magazines or listen to
music by earphones.
At the far end, entered through glazed doors, is the computer and
The different heights of the ceilings in the various rooms create
diverse atmospheres directly related to the range of activities.
All the interior walls and ceilings are coated with a
marble textured Venician stucco, creating an ambience of warm yellow on
the walls and of pure white on the ceilings.
The design of the furniture, the light fixtures and the choice of
colors all constituted an integral part of the design process, and
contributed to the pleasant and unique atmosphere experienced by the