Form follows Function

Form follows Function, as we all know… but function can change, leaving the form out of context.

Consider the long, rather dilapidated building with the vaulted, tilting roof seen behind this parking lot in downtown Jerusalem. What does its form tell you?

Orion Cinema building in Jerusalem

In its heyday, in the 1940s and 50s, this strange form was dictated by the building’s function: it housed a luxurious, large movie theater, the Orion Cinema. The long, narrow, slanting form was due to the rising rows of seats.

Today these large cinema halls are a thing of the past, driven out of business by home video and the smaller, more modern halls of multi-theater complexes in shopping malls, whose function is not visible externally any more. And the grand old Orion building now houses a McDonalds… whose function has nothing to do with its form either. The younger generation who eat in it have no idea that it was one of their city’s major entertainment venues 70 years ago… and would certainly not recognize the building’s odd shape. Oh well…

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