The Uniqueness of Israel
Israel’s Hidden Architectural Delights
Israel is well known for its beauty and while you are on your gap year in Israel, you are sure to see many stunning views. However, the country is also home to a number of amazing buildings and while you are there, you should definitely be keeping an eye out for them.
Just south of Jerusalem, in Neve Daniel, is a building known as the Bubble House. It is a 10 room, four-story house that was designed by the French-born architect Ephraim Henry Pavie. Pavie built the house for his own family back in 2007, but it is still not finished as he keeps playing with the design. Pavie has always used round shapes and curves in his designs, despite being warned against doing so while studying, and over the years, he has built a number of bubble houses. You may not get the chance to visit Neve Daniel, but at the very least, you should look at this extraordinary building online.
Easier to visit, especially if you are staying in Jerusalem, is Ramot Polin, a neighbourhood in northern Jerusalem designed by the Israeli architect Zvi Hecker as a huge grid of pentagonal units. It was completed in 1975 but has since been expanded upon. There are a total of 720 apartments that zigzag around inner courtyards. He used a similar design for his synagogue in the Negev where three types of polyhedral units make up the truncated octahedron building.
Those living in Tel Aviv can make a trip to Ramat Gan to see the spiral house. This was also designed by Zvi Hecker and it was completed in 1989. Hecker described the house, which won an award in 1999, as a modern Tower of Babel. He said, “It is a work of incomplete precision. Because it is so precise it can’t be really finished. … The Spiral’s incompleteness is also its poetry, because poetry is the most precise expression of our need for precision. Expressive as it is, the Spiral can’t be fully understood. It speaks to many languages at one and the same time.”
Another building worth seeing is the Crazy House in Tel Aviv. It is a nine-story postmodernist apartment building that was completed in 1985. The Syrian-born architect Leon Gaignebet designed the Crazy House. One side of the building faces the beach and it is embedded with gravel, shells, wood and so on. The other side of the building features a metal and concrete fresco. You can find it on Hayarkon Street.
Unsurprisingly there are a few more buildings worth looking at in Tel Aviv, such as the House on the Boardwalk. It was designed by Tzvi Harel, a professor at Tel Aviv University. It is a postmodernist seaside house that appears to defy gravity. It is not to everyone’s taste, and Harel has said that he is “proud” of being insulted about it as he believes that humour and criticism in architecture is “very important”. The house has an interesting history. Harel sketched it for a newspaper column in the 1980s and then a man called Avraham Piltz loved the design so much that he decided to have it built.
In short, be sure to keep your eyes open while walking around the streets of Israel, as you never know what architectural delights you may find.