Kotar Pais Library
Hura, the Negev

Identity A library building which was designed to be replicated throught Israel, in different sites, and different climatic and urban conditions. Also in different orientations, in terms of sunlight and ventilation. The decision early on was to use a material common to the area, the Hevron (or 'Jerusalem') stone, with an accent in the horizontal joints that would give a familiar finish to almost any location throughout the country. Then a decision was made to give the building a sense of place by opening up the reading room with glass, in order to connect to the surrounding context, and offer the building an interior open air courtyard, as a means of light and ventilation, and also as a traditional element in the Middle Eastern architectural vocabulary. The interior colors offer a relaxing palette of colors that do not compete with the tranquility of reading and learning.

Organization The building has an area of 500 sq. meters, and is organized in the following areas: entry, offices, auditorium, children's corner (oval), main reading room and book stacks. All areas in the building have a strong connection with the outside. The children's oval contains the cube with the closed areas, while the areas between the cube and the oval, are the protected courtyards, where children can play outdoors.

Materials Local stone finish on the exterior. Warm natural materials in the interior. Natural light and a palette of colors that relax and allow a laid back use of the library.

'Green' design The generic character of the building required a number of parameters to make this building responsive to climate and energy use, without compromising the need for openess and connection to the surroundings. The building makes extensive use of natural light, through openings and the interior courtyard. It is very well insulated throughout the envelope and allows for natural ventilation by means of clerestory windows over the bookstacks. The 'greek' colonade surrounding the reading room curtain wall, allows for openess and for a shading device of perforated wooden elements, that, together with the 'green' zone underneath the shading, create a protective layer around the building: to keep the direct sunlight away in the summer.