Editorial - Of Neighbors and Brutalism
Ever the optimist, I find it hard to believe that stone, a traditional building material in this part of the world, has become a destructive weapon of peace. The sudden transformation right before our eyes of skilled craftsman (casting, plaster and tile artists) into lynch mobs was shocking. Like many others, I have passed long hours in contemplating the situation, searching for justification for the loss of human value, not to mention building values. If there is so little regard for the Tomb of Joseph (or that of any other Sheikh), why should anyone value the Temple Mount?
And what does all this have to do with architecture? Few are aware that within six years, Israel will completely run out of building sand. There will simply be nothing to make cement with. If we ask politely, maybe the neighbors will throw us some larger stones and a little sand, and help us make good use of the supply of stones piling up at our borders. Perhaps this way we will be spared the pathetic campaign run by some “finer souls” to revive the days of the gray Brutalist buildings of the sixties of the last century?.
There is no sand to make new concrete, it’s not recyclable, and anyway, the craftsmen are busy with other things. In spite of everything, stone has always been a friendly building material. That’s all we’ve got, and all we’ve got to make peace with.
P.S. Below are sketches of a catapult for transporting larger stones and a Metagenes machine for throwing sand, both planned by the Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius.
Architect Ami Ran