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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
III 1970 - 1980
A New Start
    The country was changing.  The result of the Six-Day war had not only extended the country’s borders but also had stimulated the economy and set in motion a wave of development which was both extensive and qualitative. It was not yet apparent what effect it would eventually have both socially and politically on the Israeli public and its institutions, but the immediate result was a renewed immigration of Jews from abroad. This time, however it was very different from previous waves.  A great number of new immigrants came from North and South America and Western Europe and a considerable number of them were Orthodox Jews.They not running away from persecution and most of them were neither poor nor unskilled. All these changes would be translated into new neighborhoods and the extension of the cities.  Jerusalem particularly would become the focus for this development.  I began to make a concentrated effort to be involved in these new planning projects which I realized would eventually be part of an economic revitalization of the country.   It might take some time, but as far as the office was concerned it would inevitably increase the workload. Although we continued with sporadic housing design in different parts of the country, my interest at this stage was to be involved in larger scale Urban and Regional Designl projects.  One possibility in those days to achieve this was by participating in open architectural competitions.  We entered several one after the other and won two first prizes within a year.  The first was not a large project, but for us it was a new type of building requiring a different design approach. It was the office building for a factory, which produced asbestos sheeting and pipes. It was located in Naharia, a town on the shore of the Mediterranean north of Acre.  The firm was called ‘Isasbest’  (no relation) whose manager was a very efficient Swiss engineer whose name was Mr. Frederich. The brief of the planning competition detailed the requirements for a building to be erected at the entrance to the site of their factory.  We won first prize. Our project consisted of 2 stories of offices above a ground floor comprising the entrance foyer and two open courtyards as well as service rooms and a shaded entrance portico. The walls of the ground floor were constructed of exposed rough-cast concrete, whereas the external walls of the upper floors were faced in the contrasting material of asbestos sheeting, made with a very carefully proportioned square corrugation which we had designed specially for the building.  The office floor was divided into subspaces by movable partitions, while part of the area was an open-office layout, which was quite unique at that time in Israel.  Again the architectural style was kept simple, no tricks! We relied on the contrast between the deeply shadowed ground floor of rough-bordered concrete and the light gray smoothly textured upper floor, which seemed to float above the ground.  We felt it gave this particular office building the correct architectural personality, different but not entirely incongruent from the surrounding industrial buildings.
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