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The building and its design

In 1949, Zeev Rechter of the firm Rechter Zarchi Rechter won the competition for the design of Binyanei Ha'uma. Zeev Rechter and his partners in the firm – his son Yacov Rechter and his son-in-law Moshe Zarchi – together designed the monumental structure. The building was designed in a modern and restrained style as a single block with a monumental facade, appearing like a cliff side rising upward. 
The design was intended to express the establishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel after 2,000 years of exile. For this reason, the building was planned as a solid structure, clad with stone that would sit on the land with a commanding view of the hills around it. The design of the structure was performed in the architectural spirit that characterized international public buildings of its time such as the Royal Festival Hall in London and the United Nations building in New York. To avoid creating a building that had too opaque an appearance, the building facade was left without stone cladding. A monumental wall relief was planned for the facade designed by artists Yosef Zaritzky and Yitzhak Danziger, but was not executed in the end. Another plan not executed was the construction of an amphitheater designed by Architect Leopold Krakauer.
A spacious plaza was constructed at the entrance of the building that created a gradual transition between the street and building and created the feeling of pilgrimage, and not incidentally – in the early publications of the Binyanei Ha'uma Association, the building was likened to the Holy Temple. This monumental and restrained triumphalism continued into the building's halls as well, which were characterized by simple and clean lines, and included spacious staircases and foyers, high ceilings and colossal spaces. The Ussishkin Performance Hall at the core of the building was designed to accommodate the Zionist congresses, international conferences and cultural events with 3,104 seats. 
In 1988, expansion of the Binyanei Ha'uma complex was placed in the hands of the architectural office of Arthur Spector and Michael Amishav. The octagonal-shaped Teddy Hall, named for Jerusalem's Mayor Teddy Kollek, was added to the building, built as an eastern entrance structure with a large plaza in front. In the context of its renewal, the historic facade was modified and redesigned with the addition of glass windows. 
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