Architects Paint אדריכלות ישראלית Architecture of Israel # 126 August 2021 60 | | Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in the world, nonetheless it was only declared a city in 1951, and even then under the apologetic name Ashkelon-Migdal. In the centre are the remains of the Arab city al- Majdal. sixth in size of cities in the land of Israel, with 2,800 inhabitants making their living from weaving. Ashkelon's strategic location at an intersection between the sea and land - Israel and Egypt - granted it the status of an international port city. Remains of many conquests are scattered all over, inspiring its unique architectural development. The massive missile attacks during the Guardian of the Walls military operation in 2021 exposed the only city bordering Gaza to a ridiculous reality, where 40% of its 160,000 inhabitants lack proper shelter in times of emergency. This unacceptable situation stands in contrast to Ashkelon's architectural blossoming in the last two decades, and convinces us to devote this rubric to one of Ashkelon’s most famous architects - Giora Shafir. The son of artist Ilana Shafir - a Holocaust survivor who was the first to be awarded as a 'Precious Citizen' of Ashkelon, Giora is a painter in his own right and a classic guitar player. How did your artistic family influence your work as an architect? My mother taught me how to paint, but never intervened in the contents nor the technique. What interested her was that I focus on my ideas, and organise the composition in coherent language. I have no doubt that this had a great influence on my work, where I always try to extract the core from the trivial. In this respect, my father had an important role. As a great classic musician, from whom I inherited the desire to play guitar, he used to say that in real music, every surplus sound may blemish the integrity of the creation. And I can say without doubt, that this orients my intention to always take care of whatever may dilute the intensity of the main. architects paint architect giora shafir - the more you add the less you have Shira Shenton And how does this sit with the strong formality that dominates all your work? You are probably refer to the fan-like lines that indeed are found in each of my buildings, and by the way, in every creation of nature… and I am not the first to realize the wisdom of the Golden Ratio, that not only ensures constructive stability, but also gentle assimilation with the surroundings. On the wall inmy office hangs amarvellous photo of Colorado Plateau Paria Canyon inArizona - a creation of nature that dwarfs any human work. In general, moving in curved lines is more pleasant than going in straight lines since it creates a king of curiosity for what lies beyond the corner. But it also has a functional meaning. If I amnot mistaken, when we published your Ashkelon Auditorium 20 years ago you stated that the fan-like motif was prevalent in the plan, as well as in the details to symbolise the palm-trees that are scattered all over the city. True, but not only the palm tree. I said then, still hold today that the lilies found everywhere on the dunes that I used to cross every day as a child, influenced my tendency to use curved lines, expressed even in my signature. You mentioned before what your father used to say about superfluous sounds, Can you make an analogy between your classic guitar playing and your architecture, and how this refers to the fan shape? The clear and exact lines of the fan help me as an architect, as well as the beholder, to filter out any irrelevant detail. This formality gets different functional expression in each of my projects. In the Auditorium at Beit Shemesh for instance, the geometry helps the visitors to better understand the rather complex building. It is composed of four functional volumes: The foyer, the hall, the designated rooms of the actors and the administration, and the elevated stage. This functional system is further enhanced by the finishing materials: the hall is stone clad; the stage and the fan-like roofs are aluminium clad. And all these are combined by a light-show produced via a play between the warm light in the hall, and cold lighting projected from a hovering, UFO-like elliptic ceiling. And allow me a sentence for desert…my mother used to say that an apple falls not far from the tree. But even if it falls afar, it will never be a peach. "I am what I am, and so far I've managed to live with it in peace".