Holyland project in Jerusalem
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Two 32-floor intimidating towers, built over the mountainside in Holyland Park, cast a shadow over Jerusalem. The towers, together with the wide buildings constructed on the mountain like a fortified wall, have been nicknamed "The Transformers" by the capital's residents.
The entire project is now at the heart of a recent corruption affair involving former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's associate, Attorney Uri Messer. Environmental protection groups refer to the project as a "monster".
But the person who planned the towers, Moshe Tzur, one of Israel's leading architects, is very proud of his work and even slightly offended, "although I think the public criticism was voiced against the wall of horizontal buildings rather than against the pair of towers which integrate nicely with the landscape."
It’s been called a monster.
"What everyone is referring to as a monster are not the towers that I planned, but the series of buildings surrounding the mountainside, according to the Tishby-Rozio plan."
But 32 floors on a mountain?
"A tower standing on a mountain in every direction, one on each side, is not an ugly thing. There were many discussions on whether to build towers or not. A decision was made in favor of towers because they occupy much less land. The massive construction is in the lateral buildings. The towers are only pins above them."
Did you plan a Tel Avivian building?
"The building is not Tel Avivian and addresses its directions, combined with Jerusalem stones and glass. It's a three-dimensional composition, which I think looks good."
And what about the ugliness?
"I don't want to comment on someone else's work. I don't think that a person traveling on Begin Road and seeing the mass construction refers to the towers, which are harmless in relation to the horizontal construction."
Were you offended?
"I didn't think those who gave the nicknames were referring to my towers."