New Archaeological Center in Jerusalem
The center will make public priceless archaeological treasures accumulated over the decades - including 15,000 Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Qumran excavations - which have heretofore been stored in the IAA headquarters at the Rockefeller Museum in east Jerusalem, out of the eye of the public.
The plan of the building is based on the idea of an archaeological excavation, Safdie said.
The building is arranged around three courtyards built along three descending levels. A dark glass canopy, reminiscent of the shade nets over archaeological excavations, will cover the main courtyard, which will serve as an open archaeological garden. A ring-like opening located in the canopy will allow rainwater to run into a pool situated in the courtyard below, creating a flowing waterfall. The three levels below it will be an open area that will include exhibition galleries, the largest library in the Middle East for the study of archaeology, a lecture hall and bridges overlooking the laboratories, and state treasures whose walls will be lined with glass curtains enabling the visitor to observe archaeological work in progress.
The campus will also include the country's nine-decade old archaeological archive, a 200-seat archaeological theater and an archaeological roof garden which will be used for the presentation of new finds.