Lidija Grozdanic

Zvi Hecher's Hivelike Ramot Polin Housing Complex is an Ambitious Failed Experiment in Israel

by , 12/09/13
filed under: Architecture, gallery


Zvi Hecker, Zvi Hecker Ramot Polin, Ramot Polin Jerusalem, Ramot Polin Israel, prefab housing Israel, social housing experiments, dodecahedrons architecture, architectural geometry, avant-garde architecture Israel, failed architecture, low income housing, social dwelling

The Israeli government commissioned the project in the aftermath of the Six Day War as an experiment in geometry and architectural construction. The housing complex was planned for a stop atop a hill, just outside of Jerusalem, where over 700 modular dodecahedrons were constructed with prefabricated pentagonal concrete slabs. The construction began in 1977, with a promise of a new type of social dwelling that would break the monotony of the surrounding apartment blocks.

Despite the fact that the project was innovative and avant-garde, many practical problems occurred over the years. The inhabitants had to deal with unusable interior walls, narrow balconies and problematic natural lighting, which rendered the complex unappealing to the middle class population. It was ultimately inhabited by communities that would choose to live such a long way from the city thanks to the low rent. Low income religious groups moved in and started changing the layout of their apartments, enlarging rooms and widening windows, among other alterations.

The housing complex was initially supposed to show an organic approach to designing space and take on an appearance of vernacular architecture. It managed to do so, but on a level not predicted at the time of its construction. Ramot Polin is still undergoing changes, but these are introduced by the tenants instead of the architect.

+ Zvi Hecker

Via CollabCurbed and Archdaily

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1 Comment

  1. feline74 December 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    If a design allows adaption to changing needs, can it truly be considered a failure?

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