We are happy to share these extraordinary texts by the renowned architect and artist Zvi Hecker with you. His writings deal with the fascinating interplay of architecture and human existence. As you read, you'll traverse topics from the philosophical foundations of architectural design to anthropological views of human evolution and our impact on the environment.
Zvi Hecker was a renowned architect and artist, with an impressive career that spanned over seven decades. Born in 1931 in Krakow, Poland, he survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel in 1950, where he began his journey in architectural education. Hecker was known for his unconventional and geometrically complex designs, marked by profound engagement with social and cultural contexts and possibly inspired by the geometric forms of Islamic architecture. His groundbreaking works, including the Bat Yam City Hall and the Spiral Apartment House, have left a substantial impact on modern architecture. He remained, until his passing in 2023 in Berlin, a fascinating and inspiring voice in the international architectural scene, and his influence continues to be felt.
Click the link below for an exclusive, one-on-one interview with Zvi Hecker, graciously offered to us for your perusal:
A short History of Mankind
Over the last thousands of years we humans have changed very little. We are still les than two meters tall, we reproduce as our ancestors have and our diet has not changed considerably. Our psychological build up has hardly changed at all. We believe in gods, we fear the unknown and we search for protection an security. Our psyche is that of a caveman.
Though we ourselves haven’t changed, we have changed the world around us. We have produced many new toys “to please the time”as Brodsky calls it. These toys have brought mixed blessings and a lot of maintenance.
More maintenance is urgently needed as the planet earth, impaired by the growing demands of an ever-increasing mankind, shows signs of fatigue As there is no certainty that anything will actually be done on time, we might as well return to the caves, and this time probably for good.
30th Nov. 2004, Zvi Hecker
A short History of Architecture
Architecture is a shelter, and it is a product of our skills. Though we as humans change very slowly, we constantly develop new skills and abandon old ones.
To satisfy our ever-growing needs, we have to use ever-new methods. But methods also develop their own needs. The satisfaction of these needs has recently been confused with architecture.
30th Nov. 2004, Zvi Hecker
Seven Lamps of Architecture
1. Architecture is not about itself, but about the human condition. (much of German architecture is obsessed with its “looks”, of how glass is fixed in the stone, how ston hangs over the insulation, etc. (not Hans Scharoun))
2. Architecture is not creating an object. Much of architecture today seems to be in competition with designers of perfume bottles (quoting Bernard Tschumi)
3. Architecture is not a monument to walk around but an environment to walk in.
4. Architecture must not entertain us, but protect us.
5. Architecture is not blown up sculpture but a building to use. There are only a number of good sculptors in the world and no one of them seems to be an architect. The last were Michelangelo and Bernini.
6. Architecture is not part of dominating trends, its originality stems from the three thousand years’ long architecture memory.
7. Architecture is not a universal solution, at best it answers the most urget needs hopefully without destroying the environment or the urban fabric. Sadly, for some this task not exciting enough.
July 2009, Zvi Hecker