Over the past few decades, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem has been the subject of post-colonial interpretations which likened the organisation of the pavilions that make up the museum to the form of an Arab village. Focusing on the organisational and formal similarities between the museum and the typology of the Arab village, these interpretations propose that Israel, even before the 1967 War and the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, had already begun to appropriate Palestinian symbols. These interpretations often refer to drawings made by Al Mansfeld, the museum’s architect. This essay argues that while the post-colonial interpretations may be correct, they neglect to address yet another big influence on Mansfeld’s thinking when he conceptualised the Israel Museum in the late 1950s. During the early 1930s in Berlin, Mansfeld was a student of two German Expressionist architects, Hans Poelzig and Heinrich Tessenow. During these years, Mansfeld was exposed to expressionist ideas about architecture that later permeated his designs and artwork, including the design of the Israel Museum.
Dr. Avraham Albert Ticho was a Viennese-trained ophthalmologist who immigrated to Ottoman-ruled Jerusalem in 1912. There he married his cousin, the artist Anna Ticho, and together they made their mark on the history of the Land of Israel. In Days of Ticho, the Tichos’ story is told in all its fascinating detail. Their personal history is presented against the backdrop of a variety of historical perspectives histories of medicine, art, civilian institutions, governments, and war; the struggles and growth of the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine; and the conflicts that arose between Jews and their Arab neighbors. Among the stories in this book are Dr. Ticho’s supervision of the first Hadassah nurses in Palestine and the early years of Hadassah Hospital, as well as the near-fatal stabbing of Dr. Ticho by an Arab would-be assassin in November 1929, during the murderous riots that took place throughout Palestine. Those riots were an important turning point in Jewish-Arab relations, the harbinger of problems that remain the focus of world attention until today. The Ticho House in Jerusalem was dedicated in May 1984 as a downtown annex of the Israel Museum, and it welcomes thousands of visitors every year. This book further contributes to the Tichos’ legacy while advancing an understanding of their times and ours.
Lawrence Halprin’s contributions to the Israeli landscape—though little known—were significant in the areas of planning and design. Halprin’s relationship to Israel spans his lifetime. Born into a Zionist family, he spent two years on a kibbutz in the 1930s which profoundly influenced his ethics and philosophy. He returned to Israel throughout his life. His contributions were both as advisor and designer. He advised on national landscape planning, national parks, and was an influential member of Mayor Teddy Kollek’s Jerusalem Committee. His design projects, all in Jerusalem, include: the Hadassah Medical Center, the Israel Museum, and the Ben Yehuda Mall. His most significant work is the Haas Promenade (with Shlomo Aronson) and the Rhoda Goldman Promenade (with Bruce Levin). His Israeli work exemplifies aspects of his most significant contributions as a designer. The work is derived from intense personal experience. It is passionate and idealistic, and it exemplifies continued attention to choreography and performance. The work draws from lessons learned from the thoughtful examination of other places, yet is based on a careful sensitivity to the cultural and physical conditions of the place. The work demonstrates his attention and consummate skill at all phases and scales of design, planning, and construction.