Art Buzz February 2, 2012: David Resnick: The Amir Center — a mixed modernist message — known as Jerusalem’s ugliest building now might be torn down

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

ARCHITECTURE NEWS

A mixed modernist message

The Amir Center was known as Jerusalem’s ugliest building, but the publicity won its architect a raft of projects. It now might be torn down.

Source: Haaretz, 2-2-12

In 1958, shortly after going out on his own, Architect David Resnick was asked to design a new residential building at the intersection of King George and Agron streets in the heart of Jerusalem. The plot chosen was surrounded by several buildings of historical and architectural value such as the Terra Sancta building and the American consulate.

But in the spirit of the times, Resnick decided to build a daring modernist response across from those structures: a square high-rise sitting on a commercial space and flashing its innovation in every detail.

Amir Center -  From the book 'David Resnick, Retrospective' The Amir Center in the 1960s. Its unusual facade won fans.
Photo by: From the book ‘David Resnick, Retrospective’

The residential building known as the Amir Center (sometimes referred to as Beit Agron or the Supersol Building ) recently marked its 50th anniversary. Over the years, it has become one of Jerusalem’s best-known residential buildings thanks to its location, unusual facade and design innovations.

Veteran Jerusalemites still remember the steel crane brought over from Sweden specifically for this project; it hoisted up the prefab parts. Yet the Amir Center is now threatened by an evacuation-construction plan promoted by a group of residents and welcomed by the municipality. Given the renewal marathon underway in downtown Jerusalem, there’s a chance the building will be razed to make way for a luxury high-rise.

“For me, it was very important to have modern construction in Jerusalem, but most of the people opposed my building and said it wasn’t in the Jerusalem tradition,” Resnick said this week.

The Amir Center indeed sparked an intense dispute, and in a series of street interviews earned the dubious honor of “Jerusalem’s ugliest building.” In hindsight, this too is a form of public relations. In the week of the dispute, Resnick was commissioned for a variety of projects all over the city. “When you do something that’s disputed, it sometimes yields good results,” he adds….READ MORE

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