Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Symbolic and functional shpritzim

During this hot Jerusalem summer, with every day in the 30s C, I envy the dome of the Shrine of the Book (of Dead Sea Scrolls fame) which gets a constant shower of cool water to keep the glazed terra cotta tile cladding from overheating.
In this extremely interesting article about the Shrine of the Book, I learned that
Kiesler [the U.S. architect] himself intended for this to feel like a purification of sorts, akin to the mikvah, the ritual bath practice that originated with the Essenes before being adopted by mainstream Judaism. This is also reflected in the fountains that play against the dome.
Like the fact that the space is underground, the water feature also contributes to the maintenance of a cool interior in the extreme Jerusalem heat---and also likely contributes to wear on the tiles, necessitating their eventual replacement and repair.

More photos are at


Kay said...

A lot of that water also evaporates and is lost, don't you think? And yet it's very beautiful and symbolic.

cieldequimper said...

It looks like a desert dwelling. No chance of getting near enough to be watered? ;-)

Dina said...

Kay, I suppose you are right, but here it is necessary, the water. Many of the city fountains have gone waterless in our recent years of drought.

Ciel, haha no, this is once secure place that I would not chance getting close to the water.
The dome is supposed to bring to mind the lids of the clay jars in which the Dead Sea scrolls were stored in the caves of Qumran before they were discovered.

spacedlaw said...

Constant water? What a luxury.

Hels said...

I would assume the water is more practical than symbolic :) As long as the water is collected and reused, it is doing a great job.

VP said...

This is so cool, in any sense!

NixBlog said...

I can understand the inundation for cooling purposes, but as the water evaporates, it is lost and no matter how it is recycled, it is a luxury.
Water has become a valuable resource and in dry countries like yours, Dina, its management has become increasingly important as the population increases.