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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
III 1970 - 1980
 another; a Cultural Centre and the last; a large Comprehensive High School, which I would also eventually be asked to design.

    The neighbourhood of East Talpiot was spread out along two peninsular-like ridges on either side of a valley, with the upper reaches connecting them together into a great amphitheater of land.  On the highest point of the 'Hill of Evil Council', overlooking the Old City, the Armon Hanaziv (the Palace of the High Commissioner) had been located and designed by the British architect Austin Harrison, in such a way to visually dominate the entire Jerusalem surroundings. Its architectural character and location was intended to be a political expression of the prevailing colonial power of the British Mandatory Government in Palestine. The building was built in a white smooth stone, and at its apex, a beautifully attenuated tower that together with the other carefully inflected volumes delineated the crest of the hill in an unforgettable skyline. Commencing from this tower, I plotted a curved diagonal line descending to the valley floor. There, a fine broad public open space would eventually be developed as the main sports area of the neighbourhood. All of the public buildings on my planned trajectory would assume an architectural character consistent with the intention of visually connecting the various clusters of housing, located on the different levels along the surrounding ridges. This locational strategy would create a linear thread of public buildings, which would be ‘knotted’, so to speak, at its northern point onto the existing white tower of the Armon Hanaziv.  This concept of 'a grand arc' of public buildings transversing the site, was my personal architectural response, I could call it my homage, to Harrison's elegant visual gesture of crowning the hill with his noble building, now garlanded with trees. Both of us had specific and separate architectural intentions; Harrisons', with British Colonial connotations, and mine with the more social purpose of expressing the centrality of the community life of the neighbourhoods' residents.  I was aware however, that whereas it was legitimate to articulate such political or social concepts at the urban level, when it came to the detailed architectural design of the buildings themselves, the creative ego should always be under strong control.  Harrison's architectural inclination was towards a classical style, but with a genuine appreciation and respect for Muslim Architecture; whereas mine was more influenced by the Modern Architecture of the nineteen thirties, with a moderating touch of Early Georgian.  In many respects however, there was a similarity in our ethical approach to building. It could be described as an architectural rectitude; the belief that there are rules or rather boundaries to personal expression within the process of architectural creativity.  Architecture I believed was a social art, demanding a sense of responsibility, truthfulness and even a degree of humility.  My attitude towards architecture was also influenced by my deep interest in another very different art form, namely; the medium of poetry.  Early on in my career, I had been impressed in the way that T. S. Eliot had expressed some very important aspects about personal creativity in his essay; "Tradition and the Individual Talent".  In this essay, he writes with regards to poetry, what I think equally applies to architecture. (The two words; 'poet' and 'architect' I believe are interchangeable) Eliot had written:  "The poet has not a personality to express, but a particular medium, which is only a medium and not a personality, in wich impressions and experiences cobine in peculiar and unexpected ways.
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