Calatrava Provides Another Reason to Visit Haifa, Israel
Already known as home to the Terraces of the Baha'i Faith, the City of Haifa, Israel now has another "must-see" piece of art, after world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava's latest work was unveiled last week at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
“The Obelisk,” as the towering, kinetic sculpture is called, is comprised of a subterranean reinforced-concrete foundation, topped by a stone, a nearly 10 foot-high cone-shaped pedestal and crowned with an 82-foot glinting tower. The structure is surrounded by 34.5-ft. diameter circular pavement made from local off-white dolomite.
The tower houses an external skin of 224 stainless-steel ribs, arranged in eight levels. These elements are designed to permit a wave-like motion generated by the electric motor that sits atop the mast; each moving rib induces the sequential motion of the next, from the top level to the bottom.
Located at the heart of the university, the Obelisk is dedicated to the memory of prominent entrepreneur and philanthropist Russell Berrie. It helps recognize the unprecedented contributions made by the Russell Berrie Foundation to establish the university's Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), one of the world's leading centers for nanotechnology. Nanotechnology researchers at the Technion have already:
- Used human DNA to create a self-assembling transistor made of nanowires 1,000 times thinner than human hair
- Developed an electronic nose for detecting cancer via breath samples
- Printed the entire Old Testament on a silicon chip smaller than a pinhead
"The Obelisk is a celebration of science," says Calatrava. "It celebrates the very technical and very mechanical as things of beauty, and is meant to mirror daily life at the Technion, one of the world's most celebrated technical universities."