Buds Of Culture

A few words in honor of the historic occasion

A few words in honor of the historic occasion. During the past year, a number of issues have surfaced on the architectural plain, issues that will determine this countrys appearance for many years to come. For a start, those discussions organized by the United Architects Association, during which fine phrases such as 'The International Style', 'Bauhaus', and even 'Zionism' are thrown freely into the air. Those still concerned with principles that were beautiful a hundred years ago should try driving to work in a 1920s model car, sending a fax by telegraph, or writing a book on a typewriter. Thats enough folks, lets move on.

No less important an issue is 'Architectural Education', that is to say the preparation procedure of an architectural force that may, one day, deliver our salvation. The fundamental problem with architecture schools stems from the huge gap between humane needs and the poetic, unrealistic ideas that are inclulcated into the confused minds of students. As my English teacher used to say, 'First you must learn how to write in English, then you can start waving your hand around'.

And at this point, one must mention professional ethics. Having finally detached ourselves from 200 Dizengoff Street (home of the Engineers Association, for those who have forgotten), its high time that we demand amendment of the 'actions specialization' clause under the Planning and Building Law. Once this is done, the demand will rise for registered architects, who will hopefully provide good service and receive suitable commissions. Perhaps then they would have no reason to slander their colleagues.

Something we have learned to live without: 'Town Planning' as a concept. Todays battle cry demands, justifiably so, that we conserve as many open spaces as possible. But if architecture is to determine the aesthetic values of the next generation, it is important to set standards for cityscapes - standards that are considerate of the built surroundings, even if someone else has designed them. Planners should be allowed a certain freedom of expression, but they must plan for eye-level. Nowadays pedestrians encounter at every turn parking lot entrances, garbage areas, and cold concrete basements. Planners should proved shade from the sun and shelter from the rain, and once and for all get rid of power cables, telephone poles and all the paraphernalia that goes with them.

As for high rise building, its a matter of common sense: there is no choice. If we dont build upwards, we must build outwards, at the expense of our few remaining unbuilt areas. Yet, there must be restrictions. Historic fabrics should be exempt, at least for the next half century. By then maybe the policy may be decided in (the religious) city of Bnei Brak.

And for dessert, the subject is 'Street Culture'. An expression of seemingly paradoxical meaning; but in reality two words that distinguish Ofakim from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and, especially, Ramat Hasharon.


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