Co-founder of Movement Notation System Dies at 79

Avraham Wachman, a professor emeritus of architecture at the Technion and the co-founder of a notation system for recording movement on paper, died over the weekend. He was 79.

The system of movement analysis, called Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation, was created with dance theorist Noa Eshkol. It has been used in fields as varied as dance, physical therapy, animal behavior and the early diagnosis of autism. The system is also used by NASA to describe how astronauts move when they are weightless.

"His great contribution was his ability to work with different disciplines," said Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, a senior lecturer in the Technion's department of architecture and town planning.

"He studied sculpture, he worked with Noa Eshkol on movement and was very familiar with the scientific arena," she said. "In his writings you can also find a lot of philosophies. He knew how to work with different disciplines, and as a result, he had insights that today, in the computer generation, we can take to totally different places."

Wachman, who died Saturday, was born in the Polish city of Lublin in 1931 and moved to Israel as a 2-year-old. He grew up in Tel Aviv and studied theater and architecture, earning a bachelor's, master's and doctorate in architecture from the Technion. He became a professor there in 1982, and headed the architecture department between 1982 and 1986.

Wachman was interested in getting to the root of the connection between form and function, his son Amos said. He said his father preferred natural sites or structures created with a specific function in mind to buildings erected by architects in accordance with the fashion of the day.