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Arts & Crafts and the Great City: Charles Robert Ashbee in Jerusalem

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The aim of the paper is to bring together art and the city by linking town planning and the Arts & Crafts movement. This association is evident in the theoretical writing and professional practice of the architect Charles Robert Ashbee (1863–1942), whose work is characterized by a blend of tradition and innovation. Ashbee, a prominent artist, served as a British town planner in Jerusalem, assisting its first governor, Sir Ronald Storrs, in laying out the city and providing services for its inhabitants. In Jerusalem, Ashbee received his only chance to realize his artistic urban Utopia. The paper discusses Ashbee as a town planner and explores his artistic urban ideal, revealing his comprehensive appreciation of the city and its constituent artistic and social traits, and his combination of the modern requirements of a growing city with traditional artistic ideals. This was the basis of Ashbee's work in Jerusalem and determined many of its results. In many ways, Ashbee's ideas still guide the development of Jerusalem to this day, embodying a unique contribution of the Arts & Crafts movement to modern town planning.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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