Friday, February 26, 2010

A library encircling a pyramid

After walking into the Supreme Court Building, ascending the wide stairs called "The Jerusalem Street," and looking out the panoramic window, you come to a large space that is the formal entrance to the building and is therefore called the "gatehouse."
BTW, the court's website has a nice interactive map you can play with with your mouse.

Look way up, through the high window, and you see the top of a pyramid!

Apparently this was inspired by the similar shapes of two ancient monuments in the Valley of Jehosafat (Yehoshafat): Yad Avshalom (Absalom's pillar) and the tomb of Zechariah.

Natural light comes through four round windows at the apex of the pyramid, forming slowly moving circles of sunlight on the inside walls and on the floor.

(I've started calling such things "reverse shadows" so I can share them for Hey Harriet's "Shadow Shot Sunday.")

Oh! there's another meme shot: a reflection of me for James' "Weekend Reflections."
As the brochure says, this serene space acts as the inner gatehouse of the building and serves as a turning point before the entrance to the courtrooms.
The marble floor has those straight lines which earlier we said represent the concepts of law and truth as direct paths.
But around the geometric floor, wrapped around the pyramid, is the round library.
Three floors of gracefully curved boxwood shelves from Denmark, filled with law books.
The concept of justice is represented by circles found throughout the building and expressed in the passage of the Book of Psalms, “He guideth me in the circles of justice for the sake of His name.” (Psalms 23:3).

Oops, another reflection! The English-speakers who came to take the guided tour of the Supreme Court.
The brochure explains, "The volumes, which contain centuries of legal thinking from many countries, embody principles of social justice and moral values. The prominence of the library and its proximity to the entrance to the courtrooms affirms the centrality of law in Jewish history."
Shabbat shalom!


Sistertex said...

Wow, you have some great captures here! Very nice.

Malyss said...

Fantastic! i love the first and the last; I like this library, could get lost there for hours..

Kay said...

Oh my! This is very impressive, Dina! You've got amazing architects. Very creative and elegant.

allhorsestuff said...

Peace be with you as well!
What a fantastic outing...very nice shots...loved the last one best with the folks standing around~

Carolyn Ford said...

The first two photos are so good! Seeing the sun's reflection slowly move in the second would capture my attention in a big way! How amazing to see a pyramid in a window to see that someday!

JM said...

Great post and great photos, Dina! The first two are fantastic!

Lew said...

You captured the building well! Very interesting, especially with the building's ties to the history of Israel and its current use to uphold the laws in today's world.

James said...

These are great and I love the one just below the top photo. Wow that is cool shot!

cieldequimper said...

Oh that library... :-)

Louise said...

I like that last shot very much -- the shadowy people seem to be gathering silently for some sinister purpose...

Jew Wishes said...

What fantastic captures! I really like the last photo, from the tones and contrasts to the people that we see within, it is wonderful. They are all beautiful.

Thank you for the tour.

Shabbat Shalom!
Happy Purim.

Anonymous said...

These pictures are the building itself is- a very impressive and stylish piece of architecture! I could live in this makes mine seem very small. (But it's welcoming, homely and has an amazing book supply, I hasten to add!)

I always enjoy your blog! I've been away a while but am glad to be visiting here again.
Bella :)

Anonymous said...

Nice presentation. I really like the second shot.

Eki said...

A marvelous piece of architecture with symbolism for the virtues of justice, history, and knowlege. Thanks for the tour, Dina.

Is it open for tourists?

Pietro said...

Great views, Dina. The structure is really thrilling.

Louis la Vache said...

As «Louis» has written before, he is enjoying immensely this series. This building is so amazingly well-thought out!

Trotter said...

Hi Dina! Sorry for another long absence, but after a busy start of the year I decided to make a break during the Carnival week, anticipating new hard weeks ahead!!

Thanks for the tour of the Supreme Court! I'm always interested; professional deformation... ;))

Meanwhile, Blogtrotter 2 (there is a new one...) is in Haiti, waiting for your comments. Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!!

VP said...

Too many interesting things and beautiful images in this post, it is almost overwhelming, a real gran finale.
You stirred memories of a walk down the Kidron valley, but then the tombs were heavily scarred by graffiti inciting to the Intifada.
The reference to the valley in the architecture of the court has anything to do with the belief that the Christian Last Judgement will be held there?
And the valley of Hinnom, the Gehenna, is worryingly close...

Kcalpesh said...

Interesting to read! Also loved the great captures that you've posted!

Pixellicious Photos

Reader Wil said...

Impressive, interesting, exquisite, excellent,beautiful, brilliant, breathtaking, beyond words, beyond adjectives again!

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

Photos, information, history. You deserve an award as Israel's goodwill ambassador of the year!!!! Should I ever visit, this compex will be top on my list!


Dina said...

Thank you all, so much, for your enthusiastic comments!
Will try to answer the questions.

Actually, the first shot is taken from inside, looking through a window to the pyramid outside. It's not a reflection.
But the last photo is a reflection of the group of tourists.

To all of you drooling over the library, sorry, but I think only Blogtrotter could get in. The three floors of the library serve three groups of people: the work area on the first floor is for lawyers and law clerks; the second floor is for sitting justices; the third floor is for retired justices.

Louise, as our illustrious (ahem!) Foreign Minister answered some foreign critics a few days ago, "You have been watching too many James Bond movies." LOL

Eki, the visiting hours are Sunday through Thursday 8:30-14:30. But summer hours vary.
Free tours are available guided in Hebrew or English.
A touch tour of the building can be scheduled for groups of blind or visually impaired visitors.

VP, you were brave to walk the Kidron Valley back then.
Your idea of a possible link to the tradition of the Last Judgment (and Gehenom) is interesting! I have not come across anything like that in what I've read about the building; but then, the architects never tell all what went through their fertile mind.

Jan, thanks. But even a goodwill ambassador blogger may say the bad things when necessary.

Cassie said...

Reverse shadows. Good label!! Some day I hope to visit Israel. One of my dreams. 'Til then, I'll visit through your swell photos!

mbkatc230 said...

You have taken us on such an interesting, amazing tour. Your photos are lovely, and this building looks fascinating, especially the library. Love that second shot! Kathy

Hey Harriet said...

Reverse shadows! I love it! Both name and the photo! And what a fantastic view of the pyramid from the window. That's certainly very different to any views from windows over here. Have a great week!

Sarah said...

Hi there,
I enjoyed your post and loved seeing the inside of this beautiful building. I like the way the concepts are embodied in the design. My favourite shot is your reverse shadows. I like the idea of the circles travelling in circles throughout the day.

RuneE said...

You have lots of light, too ;-)

Sweet Repose said...

Too bad a millennium of wars have surrounded these truths...a beautiful country and peoples!

toby said...

Oh! I was there a few years ago - that really is a very unique building, full of meaning behind each element. You captured it so well!

Ann said...

I missed these. That complex has given you so many great shots.