Invisible Linesby Ross Belfer | 14.02.17
As a true urbanite, I tend to shy away from chances to flee the addictive grind-and-grit of Tel Aviv for greener (and quieter) pastures. But on occasional moments, the contours of Israel beyond the city limits prompt me to explore, relax and eventually, to tune-out. Over the past year, I have slowly but surely become infatuated with the architectural prowess that is the Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel, which today, stands as a 95-room luxury spa resort perched atop the lush and majestic precipices of Zichron Ya’akov at the southern tip of the Carmel Mountain Range overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
The iconic main building was constructed in 1968 as the Mivtachim Sanatorium and gained worldwide recognition for its innovative design, earning architect Yaacov Rechter the prestigious Israel Award for Architecture in 1973. With its clean white lines, exposed concrete, and unadorned geometrical shapes, the building embodied the essence of zeitgeist Israeli design. The form of the two-story structure is wavelike, following the curve of the mountain it sits atop. Additionally, the raised units create the impression that the building is floating, leading the Israel Award jury to observe, “The building provides a rare example of an architecture that synthesizes the earth and the sky.”
Today, Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel features Israel’s most state-of-the-art auditorium, an unparalleled Israeli art collection displayed in several gallery spaces and a world-class spa, all housed within the meticulously restored Brutalist architectural-style building created by Yaacov Rechter in 1968. It is surely worth a visit, whether you intend on a full-throttle R&R experience, or simply to marvel at the calming essence of the structure and the property on which it rests.