On my way to Haifa, I noticed one of Israel’s most magical architectural gems, now the Elma Arts Complex and Hotel, set on the slopes of Mount Carmel. It was designed by Ya’akov Rechter and opened as a sanatorium in 1968 by Mivtachim pension fund in the historical town of Zichron Ya’akov, overlooking the Mediterranean. This institution came to manifest the socialist ideals that prevailed in 1960s Israel, and its graceful serpentine form has made it noticeable to those traveling from Tel Aviv to Haifa; by the 70s, it achieved the status of an icon. In fact, it was for this masterpiece that Rechter received the super prestigious Israel Award for architecture in 1973. While constructed of exposed concrete, the building can hardly be described as brutalist, for its wave-like, floating structure, and glass curtain.
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