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Czech architect building watchtower for Jerusalem

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Prague, May 14 (CTK) – Czech unorthodox architect Martin Rajnis is constructing a 16-metre watchtower with an outlook platform that will adorn western Jerusalem, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes in its weekend edition.

Rajnis has already built eight watchtowers in the Czech Republic, LN writes.

The Jerusalem building is typical of Rajnis’ distinctive style with a light construction of wooden beams, prisms and timber, LN writes.

“I have no universal projects. With its shape and design, the watchtower in Jerusalem will be harmonised with the splendid garden that surrounds it,” Rajnis told the paper.

“The tower looks like a flowering cactus, which has a symbolic connotation. The Jews born in Israel are called the sabra or cactus,” he added.

“In fact, the project was born by chance. The Jerusalem Cultural Spring and the Design Week are being prepared here,” Lukas Pribyl, head of the Czech Centre in Tel Aviv that coordinates the project, told the paper.

“The organisers were thinking of a dominating feature. I recalled Rajnis whose work is already known here as he has made workshops with Israeli students,” Pribyl said.

The Jerusalem watchtower will be built in the garden of the Hansen House, a city center for arts and design formed by a large-scale reconstruction of a former leper colony four years ago, LN writes.

The 18-tonne watchtower was already completed. Next week, it will be loaded into two containers that will be sent to Israel. Its parts will be put together in the place itself under the supervision of Rajnis’ architectonic studio.

“Five people can assemble it in two weeks,” Rajnis said.

He has decided to make the watchtower for free, only for the production costs put at six million crowns.

Czech and Israeli companies, institutions and individuals have so far gathered almost five million crowns within a collection launched by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), LN writes.

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