It is less cumbersome than we’d like to believe to give densely packed urban centers a sustainable facelift.
This was demonstrated last week during the 72 Hour Urban Action Initiative that tasked 120 architectural students from 19 countries with the formidable task of livening up Israel’s “crummy” city Bat Yam.
In just three days and three nights, ten teams worked tirelessly to infuse otherwise abandoned or monotonous buildings with colorful, uplifting oomph.
Their combined efforts were so impressive that the judges were hard-pressed to award only one first prize, so they awarded two instead, as well as an honorable mention.
Dasding Hoffman’s team’s members came from Germany, America, Turkey, and Israel and received the first first prize. Their job was to create public space for an office tower converted into housing for the elderly.
Their response was to develop a street lobby that included a portable wall-mounted bench and a colorful shading system. They then took sustainability to its pinnacle with a chandelier made out of recycled plastic bottles.
The But, Yam team with members from Israel, Poland and Germany were asked to “establish a lively entrance to the business district.” The students rearranged a parking lot in order to introduce a new “harmonious flow” to the site.
According to the Bat-Yam Biennale of Landscape Urbanism and 72 Hour Urban Action press release:
“They created an elegant and refined object serving as passage way, providing the residents going through it with a dazzling and unexpected perspective.”
And finally, the team that were given an honorable mention, the (Bab) V-El-Yam team from Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom, worked with locals to redefine an abandoned public space that had been “invaded” by surrounding residents. By involving the residents, the team allowed them to communicate their “needs and uses.”
The jury issued the following statement at the summit of this year’s real time architectural undertaking.
“The 72 Hour Urban Action’s doing is irreversible. The project raised the question whether rapid change, devoid of bureaucratic and political setbacks, can be manifested. It is unanimously agreed that the project has answered this question with a (re)sounding yes…”
Defined by “community needs, an extreme deadline, a tight budget and limited space,” it seems the project exceeded its own ambitions.
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