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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
III 1970 - 1980
 I felt the sadness of his feeling for what he had left behijnd in Palestine and was moved to silence. I just shook his hand and left him standing motionless in the entrance doorway of his beautiful house. It was an unforgettable picture.and an enduring memory. 

   The other British Architect who worked in Palestine at the same time as Harrison was Clifford Holliday.  After the British left in 1948, Holliday returned to England and later became a lecturer at Manchester University during the time that I was studying there at the School of Architecture.  He told me a lot about the period when he and Harrison worked in Palestine together.  It was in fact Holliday who had encouraged me to make my first visit to Israel and take with me his regards to an architect he admired in Jerusalem; Richard Kauffmann, which I did.  I have written about my walks with Richard Kauffmann together with his bulldog, in Jerusalem.  It was on one of those walks in 1950, that he took me to see his friend the writer Agnon, who lived in Talpiot, a northern Jerusalem suburb which Kauffmann had designed in the 1930's.  As we walked along the old border, he pointed out to me the white tower of the Armon Hanaziv and the dramatic landscape, which fell away from it to the south.  The topographical structure of the site apon wich I was to plan a new neighborhood consisted of two long ridges of land, bordered on the west by a small forest surrounding the Havat Halimud (an agricultural school) and the agricultural land of the Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. On the south and east beyond the two ridges, lay the Judean Desert. I stood with Kauffmann looking at this landscape in awe.  There had been a bitter battle for the Armon Hanaziv during the Six-Day War in 1967 and it fell to the Israelis. Although the area had become Israeli Territory, the building of the Armon Hanaziv itself was taken over by the United Nations. The fine building and a small enclave around it became the UN headquarters for the Middle East Region.  It would be many years and under very unusual circumstances before I would be able to visit this beautiful building itself.

    It was in 1970 that the director of the Jerusalem office of the Ministry of Housing, Zvica Gluzman, asked me to accompany him to see a site upon which he wanted me to design a new neighbourhood.  To my surprise we drove up to the little GateHouse of Armon Hanaziv. Standing there together, he pointed out the classical view of the old city to the north then swinging around, spread out his arms toward the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea to the south and east.  "Look David," he said, "isn't that one of the most beautiful sights you have ever seen?"  "Yes" I said, "I have seen it before". Looking out over the slopes of Armon Hanaziv on my first site visit after receiving the commission, I thought of my three great architectural predecessors, Holliday, Harrison and Kauffmann, who had all built in Jerusalem.  Could I live up to the splendid quality of their architecture and professional integrity?  During the next quarter of a century, which it took me to design and build the new neighbourhood; I would be asking myself continually this question.

     The organizational structure of the planning of East Talpiot was fundamentally different than what had previously been adopted by the Ministry of Housing.  As a new departure, the Ministry appointed a planning team, which not only had the responsibility for the physical site planning, and the architecture, but within the framework of the national housing policy and it's cost limitations, it entrusted the team leader with the overall responsibility for coordination with all the public authorities, as well as the task of detailing the planning programme.



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