For the past decade or so, Tel Aviv has been undergoing a type of ‘renaissance’ and as a result it is considered one of the hippest tourism destinations in the Middle East. Alongside its architectural facelift and infusion of stylishness, though, the city has also been experiencing an eco-revitalization – to the point where Tel Aviv is considered one of the hottest green destinations as well. This green movement has been recognized in recent years during Tel Aviv’s annual “open-house” architecture weekend, with different sites and issues highlighted each year. This year’s Houses From Within (taking place this weekend) will highlight a range of green issues: from the city’s first green high rise to upcycling interior designers, and on to green spaces and gardens.
Read on to learn about this year’s green sites (adapted from the Houses From Within website):
The Sarah Racine Root Research Laboratory (Tel Aviv University’s Botanical Gardens)
Friday, May 20th, 9:00-14:00
Architect: Yoram Raz, 1994
Have you ever wondered what the world below ground looks like? Prof. Amram Eshel, who heads the Root Research Laboratory at the Botanical Gardens, will lead tours at a unique site, one of its kind in the world: a tower in which plant roots are researched from below.
The Green Ring (Meeting place: “Cavim Banamal” Center for Design and Architecture, Hangar 3, Tel Aviv Port)
Friday, May 20th, 16:00; Saturday, May 21st, 13:30 and 17:30
Can an uninterrupted link exist between the different parts of Tel Aviv, and between Tel Aviv and its adjacent cities, achieved through green urban thoroughfares? How will such a link affect commuting and the development of cultural and recreational activities? How do the local authorities view the initiative? Will in the near future Gush Dan (the Dan District) be able to join the respected list of metropolitan areas that boast of a green ring? During these sessions held at the Tel Aviv Port (which is part of the proposed green ring), the architects Ilan Shapira and Danny Grynhaus will present the initiative they formulated for connecting the large parks surrounding the city. At Friday`s session, Deputy Mayor Meital Lahavi will talk about how the ring fits into Tel Aviv-Yafo`s vision of a green network, and Michal Shalev-Reicher from “OnTxt” will address the branding facet of the initiative, which is an integral part of the efforts to implement it.
The Hayloft and Cube House Project (Tel Aviv’s Agricultural Farm, 74 Rokach Blvd.)
Friday, May 20th, 10:00-16:00. Guided tours at 11:00 and 13:00
Planner: Yaakov Sasson, 2011
A visit at the farm`s cube house and hayloft whose renovation was recently completed. The two structures were planned, designed and built by Yaakov Sasson, the artist specializing in recycled construction (who we know from the roof on Alfasi Street in Florentine). Both are characteristic of his style – which makes use of doors and windows that were dismantled from old Tel Aviv houses.
The Ecological Pool on Rabin Square
Friday, May 20th, 12:00, 13:00 and 14:00
A session with Avi Levi from the City Beautification Division at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, who is planning the renovation of the ecological pool. He will talk about the process of renovating the fountain and the ecological fabric surrounding it. The pool, which for many years was hidden behind a wall and only recently was revealed to the street and the square, illustrates how even mild intervention in the built space can affect its use and turn it into an appealing site.
Tel Aviv Without Wheels (Meeting place: the corner of 1 Aharonson St. and Herbert Samuel St.)
Saturday, May 21st, 16:00-18:00
What turns a city into a city? What produces street life? Yoav Lerman, who investigates sidewalks as part of his academic research, will be leading the tour. It will observe the city from the pedestrians` perspective and try to examine how sidewalk planning affects the pedestrians` user experience – and how all this impacts the city. The tour will stop at places where the city offers pedestrians considerable freedom and at other places where they are relegated to the bottom of the user hierarchy.
Yaakov Garden (Meeting place: the entrance to the garden at 13 Dizengoff St.)
Saturday, May 21st, 16:00
The large-scale conservation, restoration and rehabilitation works recently executed at one of the most charming gardens in the city will be described by the architect, Lital Szmuk Fabian, from TeMA studio. The project entailed architectural modifications that aimed to create a continuous link between Rothschild Blvd. and Hen Blvd., the rehabilitation of old sycamore trees, and the planting of diverse vegetation reflecting the garden`s historic flora. The second part of the tour, led by Yotam Carmel from Arco Planning, Preservation and Restoration Ltd., will be devoted to the restoration of the special Steinputz (imitation stone) plaster carried out at the garden. The tour lasts about 90 minutes.
Architects: OKA Architects – Orit Willenberg Giladi & Keren Jedwab, 2011.
The first hi-rise building in Israel constructed in accordance with LEED – the certification system devised by the U.S. Green Building Council. It illustrates how contemporary construction using stylish finishing materials can be ecologically efficient and conserve energy. The building has systems for recycling air conditioning condensation and collecting rainwater, radiation reducing windowpanes, options for natural ventilation, state-of-the-art systems for controlling lighting and air conditioning, parking spots for bicycles, gardens, etc. The tour lasts about 30 minutes.
The Ecology of Residential Construction (9 Beit Oved St., 4th floor, Hall 445)
Friday, May 20th, 12:00-16:30. Discussions will be held at 15:00, 15:40 and 16:30
Sessions at the firm of the architects Neta Davidie and Tal Rozin, during which discussions will be held about residential green building (either new or renovations) and the tools that can be used to improve the ecological qualities of private residences. There will also be a brief presentation and review of green topics that pertain to residential construction, energy conservation, water recycling, as well as various building materials, and how all these can be adapted to the housing market in Israel.
The firm, located in an old industrial building and remodeled with an emphasis on ecological themes, will be open for visits starting at 12:00.
Preservation of Buildings and Trees at Risk (Meeting place: 23 Kalischer St.)
Saturday, May 21st, 9:30
A tour with the architect Guy Nardi – director of the Greater Tel Aviv Community of the Society for the Preservation of Nature in Israel – which will address the challenges inherent in preserving the buildings found in Tel Aviv`s White City together with the old trees in their yards. The tour will stop at five downtown sites designated for preservation, some of which have 80 and 90-year old trees that have survived, and at other sites whose old trees have disappeared. The tour will end at 53 Mazeh St., under the most beautiful sycamore tree in the city.
The Roof on 20 Alfassi Street
Friday, May 20th, 9:00-18:00; Saturday, May 21st, 9:00-18:00
Come and see this roof made of recycled raw materials, constructed by Yaakov Sasson using a building style that is personal and replete with humor. A special view of the southern part of the city can be seen from the roof, in addition to a recycled work of art which Sasson erected on the adjacent roofs.
JUNKTION (Hangar 2, Jaffa Port)
Friday, May 20th, 10:00-17:00, Saturday, May 21st, 11:00-18:00
Sessions with the designer, Gurit Magen, who gives a second chance to items that others have classified as junk and turns them into designed objects. An opportunity to become acquainted with her designs, which are characterized by thought, humor and creativity. Their premise is that the world, as it is now, is replete with raw materials.
The Botanical Garden at Mikve Israel (Meeting place: Krause Gate)
Friday, May 20th, 11:00
Landscape architect: Yehiel Segal, 1929; Preservation architect: Dan Zur
A tour of Mikve Israel`s botanical garden, one of the most unusual of its kind in Israel. It was recently declared a site designated for preservation (and will in the future be incorporated in the Ariel Sharon Park). The garden was planned by the landscape architect, Yehiel Segal, who in pre-State Israel was considered a “stellar” planner of gardens and did in fact plan a number of them, including the garden at Bialik`s House. The tour, led by Aviva Schwartz, will traverse the garden`s paths where rare trees can be found, such as the cork oak from Spain, the cinnamon from China, the magnolia from the United States, the argan from Morocco, et al. The tour also includes a visit at the Wahl House, formerly used by the agricultural laboratories at Mikve Israel. The tour lasts about two hours.
To learn more about these events and the Houses From Within weekend, visit the event’s website.
Read more about Tel Aviv’s green tourism and past architecture weekends::
Miami Herald Considers Tel Aviv to be the Latest Green Destination
Open Green Houses: Eco-Architecture Tours in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv’s Annual Architectural Weekend Celebrates Urban Green Spaces
Image at top of post via: Ilan