Israelizing Jerusalem : the encounter between architectural and national ideologies, 1967-1977
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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The victorious Israeli acquisition of East Jerusalem during the 1967 War set off industrious construction intended to turn a modernist Israeli town and an ancient Jordanian city into "a united (and indivisible)" Israeli Jerusalem. This dissertation questions the reasons and venues for the consequent architectural break with high modernism that defined the built landscape of Jerusalem between 1967 and the first political defeat of Labor Zionism in 1977. For Mayor Teddy Kollek, who aspired to legitimate Israeli rule over Jerusalem on cultural and aesthetic grounds, architects were indispensable agents. However, invited luminaries, like Louis Kahn, Bruno Zevi, Philip Johnson and Lewis Mumford, forcefully attacked Jerusalem's modernist masterplan in favor of a spiritual and historical theme for the city. Their criticism became the catalyst for a beautification campaign that intriguingly resembled the British Mandate's "colonial regionalism." It also inspired younger Israeli-born architects whose quest to create an "architecture of the place" was ambivalently modeled after the Palestinian vernacular. By casting this architecture as biblical, primitive or Mediterranean, these architects emerged as interlocutors who mediated national identity into built and lived environment, culminating in Moshe Safdie's integration of archeology, the vernacular and technology in his authorized design for the Western Wall Plaza.(cont.) Based on structural analysis, archival research and interviews with architects, planners and politicians, as well as the insights of recent literature on nationalism, Orientalism and post-colonialism, this dissertation offers the first critical account of Jerusalem's architecture during statehood and in light of the prevailing debates in post-WWII architectural culture at large. It argues that modernist architecture geared toward the state's values of progress and development fell short of expressing the symbolism of the Jewish nation as it emerged in post-67 Jerusalem. In this context, post-WWII architectural theory's emphasis on Man, community, memory and place helped architects create a symbolic terrain for the mamlachtiyut project that mediated between the new state and its historical "national home." This "localist" program for Israeli architecture, however, could hardly survive the Palestinian intifadas, during which Israeli architectural historiography retreated back into the modernist origins of Israeliness as yet uncontaminated by the conflict and the Orient. Ironically, the "architecture of the place" rendered transparent the ambiguity of the Israeli national-colonial project.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2002.Includes bibliographical references (v. 2, leaves 260-281).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology