Friday, April 18, 2014

A Short visit to Zvi Hecker's Ramot Polin housing. For Eternal Internet Brotherhood #3

This year's Eternal Internet Brotherhood was placed in the West Bank. The nature of this brotherhood was nomadic and exploratory, given the fascinating context. So as my contribution I proposed a visit to Zvi Hecker's Ramot Polin housing from 1972.

Ramot Polin is a curious example of the Metabolist doctrine, as it got translated by the great Zvi Hecker, at the beginning of his career. It is curious not because of the way he designed it, but because of the way it evolved. Metabolist architecture was the promise of buildings as living organisms, buildings that through their modularity could continue to grow after their first stage of construction.

 Ramot Polin, located in northeast Jerusalem, did continue to grow, but not as the architecture intended. The residents modified their housing units, replacing the dodecahedron architecture with cubes, trading their polygon windows for parallelepipeds. They added balconies, awnings, external staircases.

The great irony is that this avant garde architecture is today inhabited by a community of Haredi, a group ultra Orthodox Jewish families,

who found themselves living in this ultra unorthdox building

  but none the less proceeded to make it their own

today it is a perfect example of user customization

And one might say that user customisation is what the internet is all about.

So is this a Metabolist Internet building?

A post Metabolist internet hood?

We visited the inside of an apartment, and the explanation for the modification was simple.
"I changed the window so I could put things on it".
"you should come in winter, to see how beautifully it leaks"

leaking is of course the sign of any truly great building

Ramot Polin is great for both its original design and how it evolved

 a curious stack of modified slabs with a dodecahedron skin
 an artificial rock amidst the biblical landscape of East Jerusalem
after touring we sat down 
and all the little kids who had been following us approached

apparently their religion does not allow for pets, and they were so fascinated by Lupo that they did not want to let us go.