Jerusalem (2000s)/Conflicts-covered up by standardized building material

The city of Jerusalem we see today is unique, with the use of Jerusalem stone, all buildings appear to blend in well, with significant monuments standing out from the ordinary housing.

This is due to a building code in force from during the British occupation. requiring all constructions to be built from Jerusalem stones. To me it has a few implications.

Firstly, this is the same material used in the construction of city of David thousands of years ago. The pale color of limestone gives the city its distinct ancient tone, introducing a sense of nostalgic for the current Jewish occupants of the city, drawing a link between the modern city above ground and the tunneling underneath which was built by their ancestors. It also happened that although Jerusalem stone is native to the region, the Islamic monuments, especially the Dome of the Rock with the golden dome, were not built from it. By following such rule these architecture becomes singled out, as if it does not belong to the city. The code still apply under the rule of the Israeli government.

The scene of unity also help building up the identity of the city. For the modern world far from the warfare between Israel and Palestine , it becomes the image of Jerusalem. Such scenery, rather than one of suffering from endless wars, is associated with the city, as the Israeli government tries its best to keep a facade of a peaceful bright Jewish state. From far away the consist building material also blurs away the clear boundaries existing within the city, as the difference between architecture is no longer as obvious as the ones inhabit within.

However successful it might be creating a harmonious cover up scene, the tensions are not to be eased lightly, with its thousand year historical burden.

There lies the old city and the new, the west and the east, which separates the rich from the poor and the Jews from the Muslims. Despite the democratic and modernized systems, uneven distribution of resources exist, with strict boarders at work and authorities not providing basic protections of citizen’s life and properties widen the gap between different social status. Such problems exist in parallel to the on going religious conflict essentially tear the city into fragments according to its historical boundaries of settlements. The far end with high rise buildings outline the more developed western Jerusalem, whereas the eastern part closer consists of mostly Palestinians, is a place full of poverty.

1 Comment on “Jerusalem (2000s)/Conflicts-covered up by standardized building material

  1. As the saying goes, the Architect takes not only into account the physical well-being of the client, but also the psychological well-being. However, the limits that can take, say for example in this case, using building materials that try to mask the conflicts and unrest, could not be far-reached. The mere duality of existence and presence of the other half of the city is enough to stir up discontent and hatred.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.