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Zvi Hecker: art museum, Ramat Gan, Israel.

Originally an agricultural settlement on the edge of Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan has mushroomed to a fully fledged city, housing Israel's national stadium, a major diamond exchange, and the country's tallest office tower. Here, around 16 years ago, Zvi Hecker also built his famous Spiral apartment block (AR October 1990), an ebullient architectural bricolage, notable for the anecdote that Hecker (allegedly) took potshots at the building during construction (he lived across the street from the site), when he considered workmanship standards below par.

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This latest project sees Hecker returning to Ramat Gan, but under rather more sedate circumstances. Every growing city worth its salt needs an art museum, and Hecker is to provide it, adding a new element to Ramat Gan's existing cultural milieu of library and multipurpose auditorium. The museum will be dedicated to the acquisition and display of Israeli art.

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Due for completion in 2009, the building is conceived as a series of elongated terraces slotted into each other like a nest of tables. Winding up from an entrance square to the roof, the terraces provide adaptable spaces for different functions--al fresco cafe, sculpture garden, viewing platform and so on. A similar array of internal terraces create interconnecting exhibition spaces. Circulation is legible, as internal and external terraces mirror each other, and indirect light penetrates deep into the building through north-facing glass walls. It's a far cry from the hectic exuberance of The Spiral, but Hecker's nonetheless inventive orchestration of light and space will make a lasting mark on the city. C.S.

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Title Annotation:Culture
Publication:The Architectural Review
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:265
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