Design students re-imagine Beersheba's Old City
Design graduate Noa Liber dreams of reviving the land plot with a green energy complex – powered by bicycles.
Noa Liber's project Photo: Noa Liber / Shenkar College
Ousting an unappealing parking lot in the middle of Beersheba’s Old City, design
graduate Noa Liber dreams of reviving the land plot with a green energy complex
– powered by bicycles.
The new “green parking lot” would be covered by a
sculpted metal pergola, which when powered by stationary bike pedals, would
provide cool air and shade for loungers below. After a certain amount of
pedaling, those at work would be free to take the bikes around the city for a
“I looked to create interaction between people in Beersheba,” Liber
told The Jerusalem Post. “I want to create gathering and interaction because
today there are no places where people can sit and come and enjoy the
Liber’s idea was part of a series of projects that recent
graduates of Ramat Gan’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design exhibited, in
which they planned various schemes for an innovative future of Beersheba’s Old
City. In their final year of Shenkar’s Interior- Building and Environmental
Design program, the students used the Old City as a laboratory for developing
“urban rooms” and renewing the city itself, under the guidance of
Prof. Shraga Kirshner, according to the college.
If Liber was
going to eliminate an entire parking lot, she felt that she had “to give
something in return.”
A bike rental facility, which would take physical
work as payment rather than cash, was the perfect new parking lot, she
“I thought that this could be good for everybody,” for both the
loungers under the pergola as well as those who come to rent the bikes, she
While she and the other students do not yet know if the city
intends to adopt any of their ideas, Liber said that one municipality
representative attended their exhibition.
Some of the other projects
include a “hidden city” of gardens created by Vera Watts, in which a city of
concealed gardens would be located among select buildings around the Old
City. The entrance to the gardens would be hidden and narrow, intended to
surprise guests and “to reveal large and impressive space that functions as a
small Garden of Eden within an urban hub,” according to the
Meanwhile, Ester Benyaminovich planned a renewal of Keren
Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund’s Old City pedestrian mall in a project
called Activity Adaptive Street, which would include a plastic ceiling cover
high above the pedestrians that would create a comfortable microclimate
Another student, Marina Veretihin, designed a birdseye lookout
for observing Beersheba’s urban landscape, which would be located on a cliff at
the edge of town that provides a panoramic view, accompanied by a sound
experience generated by wind pipes.
Providing a place for community
gatherings, student Hila Gabay designed a seating area that would have the space
to host street performances and large events, but would also have the capability
of transforming into modular communal seating on days when no attractions are
Linking various building stories and roofs together, student
Rachel Miriami designed a new walking trail that would wrap around the Old City
at changing heights.
By providing these ideas for such an ancient part of
their city, the students aimed to uniquely redesign Beersheba’s Old City
quarters and “breathe life into it,” according to the college.