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Photographer's Note

For almost forty years the Supreme Court has been located in a monastery building in the city┐S Russian quarter: the most heavily built-up part of Jerusalem outside the walled city.
The Supreme Court has been inserted in a complex of public buildings, including the parliament buildings, government building, Bank of Israel, Hebrew University and National Library: constructions built between the 1948 war of independence and the 1967 war.

During the competition held for the building, only four of the 174 local practices were admitted to the final selection stage: the panel of assessors selected the project produced by Ada and Ram Karmi.

Their architecture is strongly inspired by the modernist movement, participating in the definition of a new identity based on ideological foundations. In addition, it combines internationalist eclecticism with nostalgia and a fondness for British government buildings.
The expressive language employed in the Supreme Court building could be interpreted as a complex document, capable of blending elements taken from past ages with the latest construction technologies.
The building may be considered the fruit of careful elaboration, the portrait of a generation born in Jerusalem under British rule, striving continuously to achieve civic spirit in difficult circumstances.

The mythical, archaic concepts of the laws inscribed on tablets of stone may be a long way from the day-to-day reality of justice in a pluralist society characterised by urban forms closely linked with ethnic diversity and existing social forces.
In building the Supreme Court, Ada Karmi-Melamede and Ram Karmi have taken a step back away from the problems of modern culture, not unlike Vittorio Gregotti, who built the Belem cultural centre in Lisbon, in the shadow of an imposing church and a monastic institution. Perhaps they too share a certain attitude of ambiguity toward the sacred and the profane.

The Jerusalem building, completed in 1992, appears sober and majestic on its isolated site: the tension between line and circle, just like the tension between the earth and the sky, suggests that truth is relative and the law continues to change.
What strikes the eye of the observer immediately is the clear contrast between the building┐S outer and inner finishes: use of local stone on the outside recalls the city┐S old buildings, with their austere character: temples, mausoleums and arches.
The entrance is preceded by a tall copper-plated pyramid, which, though inspired by the past, is based on the architectural language typical of the twentieth-century International Style.

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Additional Photos by amos na (anadai) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 79 W: 0 N: 71] (2673)
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