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Viviendas Ramot Housing II

Jerusalem, Israel, 1984-1985 Stage III

The Ramot Housing project, commissioned by the Israeli Ministry of Housing in 1972, is part of the larger Ramot quarter, located on the northern crest of the hills surrounding the city of Jerusalem. Designed for a strict orthodox Jewish community, Ramot Housing provides about 720 apartments varying in size and number of rooms. The plan, resembling the palm of a hand, consists of five "fingers" - each "finger" represents a phase of construction.

The first two stages of Ramot Housing were built using specially designed prefabricated elements between 1973 -1982, the remaining three stages by conventional methods of construction.

Each stage comprises five star-shaped buildings enclosing five interconnected courts, laid out along a pedestrian walkway. One enters the central spine and is led through the procession of alternately oriented court interiors reminiscent of the traditional court arrangements in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In 1981, halfway through the construction of the project, the Ministry of Housing decided to replace the contractor on the site and to complete the remaining three stages by using so called "conventional" methods of construction.
The "conventional" method of building in Jerusalem implies the use of small slab stones for the inside concrete walls, as well as for the final external facing. The use of this technique imposed design restrictions and precluded the use of the forms developed in the first stage.

In spite of the change in the building method, it was decided to preserve the existing palm-of-the-hand layout and to fit Stage II into the original scheme. The height and size of the buildings, as well as the number of apartments, were similarly left unchanged.

The open terraces so characteristic of the first stage remained the key feature of the design of Stage III as well. These terraces serve the orthodox residents during the Feast of Tabernacles - Succot - as living, eating, and even sleeping places, in accordance with Jewish religious law.

Israeli Ministry of Housing