Page D2.1 . 17 April 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Oasis in a War Zone

    by Lili Eylon

    Israel's modernist Supreme Court, with its clean stone lines and its miniature pyramid, seems to rise up from one of Jerusalem's many hills. Planned by the brother-sister architectural team of Ram Karmi and Ada Karmi-Melamede, it is a complex three-story building of local limestone.

    It consists of three main parts: a square library wing with a round courtyard containing the copper-clad pyramid, a rectangular administrative building with judges' chambers and a cloistered courtyard, and a wing containing five courtrooms, extending like five fingers from the main hall.

    The location of the Supreme Court on the hilltop above the Knesset (Parliament) is deliberate, symbolizing the supremacy of the law. "Our building aspires to reflect the unique history of Jerusalem and its culture, and endeavors to represent the basic values of law, justice, truth, and compassion," says architect Karmi-Melamede.

    In 1984 the late Dorothy de Rothschild wrote a letter to then Prime Minister Shimon Peres disclosing that her husband James A. de Rothschild had envisioned providing a new supreme court building as a gift to the government and people of Israel. She expressed four wishes concerning the edifice: that it be situated on a hill within the government complex; that, as much as possible, local materials be used in its construction; that the Rothschild name not appear anywhere in the building; and that the cost not be revealed.   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    The Courtyard of the Arches of the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem, designed by Ram Karmi and Ada Karmi-Melamede.
    Photo: Richard Bryant

    ArchWeek Image

    West facade of the Supreme Court.
    Photo: Richard Bryant


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