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Leading Israeli architect wades into RIBA row

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A respected Israeli architect has dismissed Richard Meier’s call for the RIBA to stay out of Israeli politics

Meier and other influential architects including Daniel Libeskind have attacked RIBA for its motion calling for the suspension of Israel’s architecture body from the International Architects Union (UIA) in protest against continued building in the Occupied Territories (AJ 17.4.14).

Now Erez Ella, founder of Tel Aviv-based HQ Architects and co-designer of the Israeli Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale, has waded into the row.

In contrast to Meier, who wrote to RIBA President Stephen Hodder demanding a reversal of the motion, Ella claims the RIBA should intervene, but in a more targeted approach seeking suspension only of those architects and practices who built in the Occupied Territories.

The institute is currently calling for the censure of all the members of the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA).

Ella said: ‘I hold exactly the opposite opinion [to Richard Meier]; there is no such thing as not mixing architecture and politics. Any building or planning is a political act.’

‘If the motion’s goal is to help finish the occupation…it can be done by applying the motion only on those whom build, design or plan in the occupied territories [not all the members of the IAUA].

Ella said his country was ‘really divided with no middle ground.’

‘Israel is two countries: one that will do everything it can, including the architects in my [work and social] circles, to solve the issue and have a Palestinian state; and another that will do everything it can to have one state.’

‘RIBA does not recognise that it is playing into the hands of the second group. Richard Meier is missing the point and is a little bit naïve.’

Ella added: ‘I would not build in the Territories and RIBA should say whoever does [build in the Territories] should not be part of RIBA.



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