AD Classics: Shrine of the Book / Armand Phillip Bartos and Frederick John Kiesler

Shrine of the Book and the Knesset, Israel Ministry of Tourism

The Shrine of the Book (Hebrew: היכל הספר‎ Heikhal HaSefer) is a wing of the Israel Musem near Givat Ram in , constructed in 1965. The building houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in and around the Wadi Qurman.

The building was the result of an elaborate seven-year planning process funded by the family of David Samuel Gottesman, a Hungarian philanthropist who purchased the scrolls as a gift to the newly founded state of Israel. One architect, American philanthropist-cum-designer Armand Phillip Bartos, was chosed because he was married to Gottesman’s daughter. The other appointed architect, , had previously recieved funding from Gottesman to install the “Endless house” at the Museum of Modern Art. The architectural team also included the well-connected Gezer Heller, brother-in-law to Ibbi Hammer, future chief banker for the State of Israel and daughter of the Chief Rabbi of Budapest. Israelis objected to the choice of non-Israeli architects, especially Kiesler.