Does the architectural design for expanding the Knesset building also anticipate a significant increase in the number of MKs? The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Commission last Wednesday approved a project for expanding the Knesset building. The plan, designed by the Pelleg Architects firm (designer of the IKEA building in Netanya, the new control tower at Ben Gurion Airport, Pelephone House in Givatayim, and other buildings), makes it possible to double the amount of space to 102,270 square meters.
In their explanation given for the plan, the designers state, "The Knesset is growing in parliamentary activity, and this growth requires additional space for the Knesset. The Knesset represented 650,000 people when the building was constructed, and now represents nine million people." The designers added that the Knesset, which currently has 120 MKs, may expand to 140 MKs in the future. While each MK formerly had one parliamentary assistant, in the future each MK will have five parliamentary assistants.
The new structures to be built south of the existing structure will house new offices for MKs, an administrative division, kitchens and dining rooms, committee rooms, a motel, the Central Election Committee offices, and more. The new project preserves the original iconic building designed by architect Joseph Klarwein in 1957.
The design principles for the additional construction are based on terraced low-level construction that takes the hilly topography into account. The designers boast of environmentally friendly plan, including preservation of rainwater and putting it back into the earth, energy saving in the air-conditioning and electrical systems, placement of solar energy facilities, "green roofs," and the use of local vegetation in the landscape.
The plan maintains the dominance of the Knesset building, while adding two entrances for pedestrians. The first is from the west on Kaplan Road next to the future light railway station opposite the new National Library building, and the second is from the south on Ruppin Road. There will also be an operational entrance for vehicles on the eastern side next to Sacher Park.
The Knesset explained that there is no current plan to officially increase the number of MKs; the plan is to pass the extended law enabling MKs appointed as ministers to resign their seats and resume them at a later time (the enhanced "Norwegian law," which in effect increases the number of MKs).
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 18, 2019
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019