The Supreme Court was designed to be impressive, but not overbearing. The building has become a tourist site, and has five stately courtrooms where the daylight plays an important role, with views through the spacious windows. Map.
Rarely does a manifesto or philosophical treatise serve as a fitting guideline for a work of art. Usually, raping form so that it will prove a thesis leaves one – at least in architecture – with a product that is hardly usable, rarely comfortable, where form and function follow excess verbosity.
The Supreme Court moved into its current home in 1992, from its Russian Compound location, where it existed for 44 years. Planned by the brother-sister architect duo of Ram and Ada Carmi, and erected through a donation by Dorothea De-Rothschild, it is richly but sparingly adorned with antiques, such as the ancient Hamat Gader synagogue mosaic.
A guided tour of this striking edifice is a tour into the minds of its planners who leaned heavily on the Bible and the precepts of Jewish thought in guiding their fashion, somehow managing to unite the disparate, rounding the square, if you will. The first thing one notice as one walks into the entrance foyer of the Supreme Court building, is the narrow staircase leading -as it were – into the sky.
A Jerusalem stone wall on one side, and a bare flat wall on the other, it symbolizes the aspiration from the land (laws) towards the heavens (justice). This same theme is repeated in the visual leitmotif of straight lines (”Your laws are straight,” Psalms 119:113) and circles (”He leads me in the circles of Justice,” Psalms 23:3).
The sky is a major presence in the courthouse, since skylight plays a predominant role, nullifying the need for artificial lighting, except when the sun goes down. The circular library – open to the public – opens on to a pyramid, through which light streams down through circular windows; the vast foyer, which leads into the five austere courtrooms (the largest in the middle, the smallest on the sides), is in a constant state of change, thanks to the changing shadows thrown onto the walls by the shifting sun; and the entire structure opens onto the Courtyard of the Arches – reminiscent of the courtyard of the Rockefeller Museum – down whose center flows an artificial spring (”Truth will spring up from the earth” Psalms 85:12).
Tours Sunday through Thursday for individuals:
Guided Tours for groups of more than ten people,
must make advance reservation 02-6759612/3.
For updated information about guided tours
during the summer months and holidays,
please call: 02-675-9612.
The Supreme Court building will be closed on the 9th of December 2014 and on the 15th of January 2015.
There will be no guided tours on site.
For questions please contact the Public Affairs Department Tel: 02-675-9612/3