Foreign Ministry of Israel

Demanding security issues were integrated into the architecture so they became either environmental assets or invisible.

Moshe Safdie – Jury Chair, BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Awards 2004

The building for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem ensures comprehensive security—required for its function—while simultaneously conveying a sense of openness. Reconciling these two opposite qualities imposed a key challenge. Welcoming and bright, the main reception hall has translucent walls of onyx and a glazed roof reinforced with a perforated metal parasol, allowing for the penetration of natural light. Transparent and secure, the use of onyx recreates Jerusalem’s fabled light inside; despite its apparent delicacy, an innovative blast-resistant assembly meets the security requirements.

Another challenge was the location of the building on the ceremonial National Boulevard, where other buildings of state are also located. There was a need to integrate with the context while retaining a separate identity for the Foreign Ministry. We fulfilled these requirements by aligning the building with the existing urban fabric in materials and scale. However, the roof’s geometry formally grants the architecture a distinctive identity—one that is not only recognizable but also memorable.

Client Government of Israel
Completion 05/11/2002


In Association with Kolker, Kolker, Epstein Architects
Photography Tim Griffith


Awards See all project awards
2004 Business Week / Architectural Record Award
2001 RAIC Award of Excellence – Innovation in Architecture
Team See full project team