Thursday, September 17, 2009

Modular Mission

[Top to bottom: Zvi Hecker's Dubiner House, Ramat Gan 1960; Detail of a second housing complex in Ramat Gan, 1972; Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 for the 1967 Montreal World Expo]

Zvi Hecker , born May 31, 1931 in Krakow, Poland is an Israeli architect currently working in Berlin. Enjoying success around the 70’s, a subsequent slowdown has seen him largely overlooked. He accumulated an eclectic portfolio of built and unbuilt work, using a formula of geometry and chaos.

His studies in crystallography in particular generated some interesting results, as manifested in the Ramat Gan residential complex in Jesusalem, 1979 – 1985. Using the crystalline analogy he was able to generate flexible and perpetual forms. Unfortunately this proved a constructional nightmare, and threw architectural values to the wind. Sharply sloping walls also somewhat affected the functionality of the internal spaces.

His creative use of modularity has been significant for modern architecture, and his 1960 Dubiner house was a precursor to Moshe Safdie ’s Ubiquitous Habitat 67, at the Montreal World Expo in 1967. Moreover his intricacy is a pleasure to behold at an architectural scale. His website is impressively bad on all fronts, but if you brave it you will find more of his work.

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