Israel has one of the largest concentrations of modernist architecture in the world. Much was built before the state of Israel even came into existence, during the British Mandate period, from 1923-1948, when political upheaval in Europe brought a new generation of modernist-trained architects to cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem. This extraordinary collection of architecture is the subject of the Israel Museum’s current exhibition, Social Construction: Modern Architecture in British Mandate Palestine. The show, inspired by the research of architects Ada Karmi-Melamede and Dan Price, and curated by Israel Museum Chief of Exhibition Design Oren Sagiv, uses an impressive collection of photos, drawings, and other resources, to analyze the built forms created by famed Bauhaus disciples like Eric Mendelsohn and Richard Kaufmann as well as by those trained in the newly emerging modernist language throughout the world. What they created, the show demonstrates, was something altogether original. It wasn't meant to distance itself from existing forms, as modernism so often did in Europe, but to create a completely new urban context and social order. The buildings, points out Israel Museum Director James S. Snyder, create both an innovative separation of spaces for interior life, and geometrically-rich exteriors that take on a distinctly Israeli character. “All of those things had to do with enlivening the exterior so it enlivened the public realm,” said Snyder. “The life of the façade became a continuation of the street life,” added Sagiv. “A new aesthetic language was crystallized, about a country that was starting from scratch.” Examples of the lively tectonic characteristics that the show examines include double walls, penetrating entrances, vertical stairwells, articulated balconies, and recessed horizontal fenestration. All played a role in knitting together this new urban fabric, both in the private and public realms. In Tel Aviv, which has the country’s greatest concentration of Mandate-era modernism, their scale had what Snyder calls a “modest grandeur,” reflecting the emerging democratic values of the country. These buildings were designed to fit into the concept of a carefully-spaced, intricately-planted garden city. It's an awe-inspiring collection that hits home the substantial importance of the region in the growth of modernism, both as an architectural style, a city making movement, and a philosophy of living. Social Construction: Modern Architecture in British Mandate Palestine is on view at the The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, through December 31. AN visited the exhibition with Vibe Israel.
Posts tagged with "Israeli Architecture":
Daniel Libeskind is the latest high-profile architect to unveil a pyramid-shaped skyscraper, this time in Jerusalem
Jerusalem's municipal committee has approved the construction of The Pyramid, a 26 story building by starchitect Daniel Libeskind that will become the city's second tallest building. Libeskind worked alongside Israeli architect Yigal Levi in designing the 344-foot-tall luxury high-rise that is set to break ground by 2019. The structure will be built above the ruins of Israel's century-old Eden Theater and across from the famed Mahane Yehuda Market, also known as The Shuk. The Pyramid's facade, with its half-stone, half-glass tessellated panel and embedded Star of David, is placed atop colossal colonnades that connect shops located around a public plaza. The tapering characteristic of the Pyramid gravitate towards the sharp, open tip that will serve as both a roof-top observatory and a restaurant. Besides retail, the project features 200 apartments and a boutique hotel. "The Pyramid mediates between ancient traditions and myths, while providing a 21st century reinterpretation of that great form,” Libeskind said in a statement on his website. "The design complements the context and gives the neighborhood a vibrant public space in the heart of the ancient city." The project was proposed by Libeskind and Levi back in 2011 with a different design. The original included a curved, wave-shaped tower with Jerusalem-style gates. "We want to bring to the city center the revolution that Mamilla spurred in its area," Levi told Hareetz in a 2011 article, referring to the luxurious mall on the Alrov Mamilla Avenue strip. "There are a lot of new projects in the city center, but they don't create a meeting place where people can linger and meet." Jerusalem is currently in the midst of a transformation into an even more bustling business and tourism region with at least eight other high-rise projects proposed since 2011, spurring some architects, politicians, and urban planners to caution that so much development could damage the city's known historic heritage. Pyramidal shapes have been growing in popularity for high-rise design in recent years, with Bjarke Ingels' under construction Via "courtscraper" under construction in Manhattan and Herzog & de Meuron's pyramid tower in Paris moving forward.
Aircraft Carrier Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare Street Through April 27 Aircraft Carrier examines the dramatic changes that occurred in Israeli architecture between two catalyzing moments in global capitalism, 1973 and 2008. The events of the former, marked by irreparable changes in American relations to the Middle East and the fundamental structures of Israeli society, drastically altered the course of Israeli architecture. Presented through diverse works of photography and video art from international artist Florian Holzherr, Nira Pereg, Jan Tichy, Asaaf Evron, and Fernando Guerra, the exhibition explores this transformative period, the American imprint that endowed it, and the radical changes in Israeli architecture that emerged from it.