Philip Johnson, Research Nuclear Reactor, (1960)
One of the least known buildings designed by Johnson is his 1960 nuclear reactor in Rehovot, Israel. It is a beautifully composed diagram, a building that seems almost timeless in it’s composition and texture: as much at home in the cities of Mesopotamia as it would be among the monasteries of the middle ages. It consists of a 250 ft. long and 120ft. wide tapered almost solid concrete base and similarly tapered concrete “tomb” that contains the nuclear reactor. The base of this massive “tomb” contains the research laboratories, which are grouped around a spacious court, arcaded in the manner of a medieval monastery. It could easily be mistaken for an abandoned mosque, which is most likely the undeclared intention of the security conscious Israeli authorities. One of Johnson’s strangest and most impressive monuments.