The Jerusalem Municipality has selected German design firm Topotek 1 to create a public space in a 2-sq-kilometer area at the western entrance to the city as part of a planned commercial development expansion and new transport hub—set to become the city's largest-ever urban upgrade.

The space will be located between the city’s international convention center now being expanded and the HaUma railway station—the terminus of the high-speed train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that is set to open in 2018, and another within Jerusalem.

Both structures are part of a multibillion-dollar development of 52 acres that will include 731,000 sq meters of commercial space. The complex will include nine 24-to 33-story buildings. 

The concept of the $45-million public space project "evolved from the importance of public space and the decision to route traffic underground,” said Joseph Farhi, partner at Farhi-Zafrir Architects, the Tel Aviv-based firm that drew up the master plan for the Jerusalem expansion.

The Berlin-based firm’s proposal was selected over plans presented by Portugal’s PROAP Group and Gensler of San Francisco. 

“Our main goal was to show how the past and present of a centuries-old city can be connected in an appropriate and innovative way,” Topotek 1 said in a statement. 

The statement added that the design approach highlights the contrasts and complexities of Jerusalem and creates a sense of continuity while embracing contemporary culture.