sand printers inside israeli pavilion at the venice architecture biennale sand printers inside israeli pavilion at the venice architecture biennale
jun 08, 2014

sand printers inside israeli pavilion at the venice architecture biennale

sand printers inside israeli pavilion at the venice architecture biennale
photo by francesco allegretto

 

 

 

the israeli pavilion at the 2014 venice architecture biennale is transformed into a contemporary construction site furnished with four large sand-printers. the printers are organized according to the following methodology; each one examines urban planning on a different scale, according to the top down approach that characterizes development in israel: the country, the city, the neighborhood, the building.

israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale
israeli pavilion
photo by francesco allegretto

 

 

 

the ‘urburb’ is a neologism referring to the mesh of the urban and suburban, which characterizes the great majority of residential areas in contemporary israel. it creates a fragmented mosaic composed of the early twentieth century garden-city, agrarian settlements, mid-century social housing, and the generic residential typologies of the past two decades. this hybrid manifests the conflicting demands of the modernist machine functioning in the old-new land: to create small egalitarian communities while accommodating a large and diverse population, to spread throughout the country while converging and closing-in, and to reconnect to the land with a top-down planning system that treats the surface as a clean slate (tabula rasa).

sand printer at israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale 2014
sand printers
image © designboom

israel
sand printers map out plans
image © designboom

 

 

 

in order to explore these dynamics, the israeli pavilion is transformed into a contemporary construction site furnished with four large sand-printers, accompanied by a video and sound piece that transforms the urburb patterns and plays them like a music box. the site and the sand-printers delineate the story of one hundred years of modernist planning in israel, in diverse scales shifting from national and urban master plans to those of single buildings.

israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale
detail of the schemes the printers drawing
image © designboom

israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale
sand printer
image © designboom

israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale
sand printer
image © designboom

 

israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale 
sand printer
image © designboom

 

israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale
aerial view of rishon lezion 2008, photo by moshe milner / courtesy of GPO

 

 

 

one of the founding principles of the bauhaus movement was the creation of relational spaces;  the buildings were designed in order to functional within neighborhoods, coordinating urbanization with industrialization, in the elaboration of a unified national space.

 

 


the exhibition is curated by ori scialom, roy brand, keren yeala-golan and edith kofsky
an interview with keren yeala golan and roy brand courtesy of la biennale di venezia

 

 

aerial view of rishon lezion at israeli pavilion venice architecture biennale

aerial view of rishon lezion, photo by moshe milner, courtesy of GPO

 

 

 

 

the country

israeli suburbanization – on a national scale – is not the result of a gradual process, but a reflection of an intrinsic disposition. from the very beginning of renewed jewish settlement in eretz-israel at the second half of the 19th century, ‘the city’ was never an option. beginning with the founding of early rural settlements and new jewish neighborhoods outside the walls of the old cities, the anti-urban sentiment, and the longing for a rural-agrarian way of life, became both the bourgeois dream and a concrete reality. this frame of mind persisted after the state’s establishment with prime minister avid ben-gurion’s commissioning of the ‘sharon plan’. employing familiar strategies of suburbanization, the plan cast a scheme of new towns scattered on a grid covering the entire country. the plan failed to disperse the population, but laid the groundwork for the urburb of today.

israel

left: residential typology evolution drawing by edith kofsky
right: the ‘neighboring unit’ scheme, used by henry kendall in his 1944 plan for jerusalem, was expanded by arieh sharon for planning all the new towns in israel 1944

 

 

 

 

the city

the fragmented nature of of israeli cities is a direct product of the sharon plan’s bias against big cities, encouraging their sub-division into a number of ‘neighboring units’, small independent entities disconnected from historic city centers and existing neighborhoods, which result in increased segregation, detachment, and urban sprawl. these phenomena are perhaps most explicity visible in jerusalem. from the first segregated neighborhoods built outside the old city walls in 19th century, through henry kendall’s british plan of 1944, construction in jerusalem has always been characterized by de-centralization coupled with an ideological desire to build as a mode of laying claim, a tendency echoed throughout the country. 

 rishon-lezion-west

nobel prize winners neighborhood, rishon lezion west, photo by amos meron

 

 

 

 

the neighborhood

the ‘neighboring unit’ scheme, used by henry kendall in his 1944 plan for jerusalem, was expanded by arieh sharon for planning all the new towns in israel in 1944. from henry kendall, jerusalem: the city plan, preservation and development during the british mandate, 1918-1948 (london: his majesty’s stationery office, 1948).

 

when the plethora of new neighborhoods that both splinter and expand cities are seen from above, their real identity is revealed; the picturesque floral shapes, intricate geometric patterns, and the twisting line drawings testify to the abstracted nature of produced space in israel. pushing the modernist tool-kit to the extreme manifests its hollowness; from the state’s ‘minimal’ and equalizing answer to the housing needs of the new immigrants, to the creation of a unified bourgeois identity crafted by the real-estate market – a sheltered life-form in an ‘urban’ building situated at the heart of a ‘rural’ area. the uniformity that modernism enforced in the name of social equality has thus become the standard that is happily embraced by everyone.

 

 

 

 

the building

beginning in 1948, under the auspices of the technical department of the minister of housing and governmental building, companies such as shikun ovdim and solel boneh produced wide scale plans of modern housing typologies, addressing two main concerns: the massive immigration waves and building across the newly obtained territories. the single edifice, which acts as the building-block of the ‘neighboring units’ or the miniscule cities of the sharon plan, is an independent agent dropped from above, free-standing on the plane, open on every side and on each front, usually set on pilotis (tall slender columns).

 

the history of the israeli apartment building can be described, in geometric terms, as a shift from the horizontal box to a sophisticated vertical one, from this evolutionary move upright, replacing proximity to the land with a detachment from it, reflecting an essential phase in the development of israeli society.

 

 

the urburb

venue: pavilion at giardini, venice
commissioners: michal gov, arad turgeman
curators: ori scialom, roy brand, keren yeala golan
deputy curator: edith kofsky
  • There is no other option except to go vertical when space/land is not available for horizontal
    development. It was more a natural progress than a “shift” to vertical scheme.

    nelsondreyes architect says:
  • This is so exciting and creative. Good Luck

    Rona Kruger says:

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