Tel Aviv – the vibrant, seaside centenarian – has undergone a dramatic facelift in recent years. With the flux of migration toward the Center, the erection of high-rise buildings and the cleaning up of public spaces, this grandmother of a city has seen a great deal of investment and renovation, both in the environment and in its architecture over the past decade.
“Architecture is very much about society, and architecture is very much about history, and it’s about environmental issues,” says Alon Bin-Nun, curator of “Houses from Within” (sponsored by Nikol), the 4th annual weekend-long event aimed at engaging the public with its built environment. “We have tried to show architecture not only as design and real estate... For us, it’s mainly about culture.”
Aiming to attract upwards of 50,000 visitors – the estimated number of attendees at last year’s ‘open house’ – Bin-Nun has assembled a selection of privately-owned lofts and villas, significant public buildings and unique construction sites, plazas and parks, all whose doors will be open today and tomorrow for a rare glimpse inside.
For those who are unsure where to begin, he offers three cross-spectrum program highlights:
Private home: Yossi and Nash’s house – 11 Shemaya St., the Greek Market, Jaffa
“The reason I really like this home is that it’s really personal and different from a lot of other homes,” says Bin-Nun. “There was no architect involved here – just a couple of good hands and good ideas. And they just renovated their own home reusing a lot of building materials that they found around them.” The owners – one of them a shiatsu therapist and the other a carpenter – moved in roughly two months ago, after designing the space out of recycled items, like the old oar that was converted into a banister. “It doesn’t look like a piece of garbage,” says Bin-Nun. “It looks really great.”
Guided tour: Green Ramat Aviv – convening at the Eretz Israel Museum
“There’s a very interesting tour of Ramat Aviv and the area that now holds the museums – the Eretz Israel Museum and Palmach Museum. It’s a very interesting tour because it looks at the topography, the history and the contemporary conditions of the area, which is not that popular with the architecture in Tel Aviv and not that known,” says Bin-Nun.
Exploring the area of Ramat Aviv “A”, planned in the 1950s as a city housing project, the tour will highlight the neighbourhood’s recent renewal process including the current ‘eviction-rebuilding’ plans.
Public building: City House – 27 Bialik St., Bialik Square
The newly renovated Tel Aviv Historical Museum [now called the City
House Museum], which is housed inside the old City Hall of Tel Aviv, is
another fascinating architectural project, says Bin-Nun. “First of all,
it’s the first city hall of Tel Aviv and it has historical
significance,” he says. “The building was renovated and preserved in a
very meticulous way, and looks very nice and just exactly as it did
when it was opened – maybe even better.” But the most interesting
element, he says, is the black box that was added onto the back of the
building – a dark space that holds the museum itself and the gallery.
“The idea of adding a black box as a time capsule and a memory capsule
is very interesting,” says Bin-Nun. “Creating such a museum that is
looking inside, hardly looking outside at all – this is a very unique
interpretation. You know, the White City suddenly has a black box in it
that holds the memory of the city.”
The integration of both modern and historical aspects of the city’s
built environment is a particularly important part of “Houses from
Within,” he explains, because “the field of architecture is wide and
diverse, and you need to see it as a whole, not just in the narrow way
[you might] usually look at it.” With over 100 venues on display this
weekend, visitors will learn more about what was, what is and what will
become critical elements of their urban habitat. For more information and to register: batim.mouse.co.il/en/