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

Jerusalem, Israel

How do you balance the need for comprehensive security while at the same time conveying a sense of openness and invitation? Reconciling these two opposites was the key challenge in designing the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our design brought both transparency and the necessary security. The main reception hall has translucent walls of onyx and a roof of glass with a perforated metal parasol suspended above it, which allows for natural light. The onyx recreates Jerusalem’s fabled light inside the building and gives a sense of transparency. Despite its apparent delicacy, we designed an innovative blast-resistant assembly to meet the considerable security requirements.

Another challenge was the location on the ceremonial National Boulevard, where the buildings of state are located. There was a need to retain a strong contextual sense of the street while at the same time creating a separate identity for the Foreign Ministry. We accomplished this by aligning the building with the existing buildings, and using contextual material and approaches for the base. However, we gave the roof a geometry and selected materials that gives it a distinctive identity.

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