ECOWEEK 2018: Social and Environmental Design in Israel

ECOWEEK 2018 in ISRAEL: One Week of Design Workshops for Interventions and Placemaking in Public Space
Where do students of Architecture and Design get a hands-on experience on sustainable design in Israel? Where do they meet and network with students from Israel and abroad and develop together innovative concepts for making public space more humane and sustainable? Where do students’ ideas, professional experience, academic learning and the real world meet? Where do students learn to address the challenges of public space at home in their own communities?
ECOWEEK 2018 The International Conference and Sustainable Design Workshops that take place around the world were held in Israel on September 2-7 2018.
ECOWEEK 2018 is a unique platform that combines academic and professional experience and work in the real world.  design workshops took place this year in September 2-7, in Herzlyia, Tel Aviv and Holon. ECOWEEK 2018 took place in cooperation with the Holon Institute of Technology, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim Germany, the Municipality of Herzlyia, Dizengoff Center, Goethe Institute, the Norwegian Embassy, the Austrian Cultural Forum of the Embassy of Austria, the Israel Society for Protection of Nature, the Israel Green Building Council, the Israel Union of Architects, DETAIL magazine and Archisearch.
ECOWEEK 2018 included a one-day conference with speakers from Israel, Austria, Norway and Germany, and one-week of design workshops. The ECOWEEK workshops on social and sustainable design aim to bring students closer to the concepts of social and environmental sustainability and placemaking in diverse sites and locations by bringing the community into the process and by presenting the students with a real brief in a real public space.
ECOWEEK 2018 Workshop W3  (Courtesy: ECOWEEK 2018)
ECOWEEK 2018 Workshop W3 (Courtesy: ECOWEEK 2018)
ECOWEEK 2018 was hosted by the Holon Institute of Technology and by the Goethe Institute. Goethe Institute also held a public screening of the documentary ‘SAND WARS’ by French Director Denis Delestrac. This is one out of a series of films in the ‘Tomorrow-Today’ project that address environmental issues of water, plastic, solar energy and sand.
'There are excellent design and architecture workshops that take students to Asia or Africa to learn to provide solutions to the problems of remote communities. Israeli cities and communities and public space in Israel face similar challenges but are often ignored. This is why we encourage design and architecture students to learn how to address challenges and solve problems at home - here in Israel,’ says Dr. Elias Messinas, a new immigrant from Greece, who founded ECOWEEK thirteen years ago and has expanded its activity to 17 countries around the world, and has created a network of members in 56 countries. ‘In 1989 I met architect Hassan Fathy in Egypt and he shared with me his vision that architecture students ought to get inspiration and professional experience, by addressing the challenges of their own communities. Not by imitating what they see in colorful magazines. It is a beautiful vision, that provides a strong foundation for social and environmental sustainability. This is why we have put it into practice at ECOWEEK for the past 13 years’ he adds.
The organizing team of ECOWEEK 2018 included Arch. Dr. Elias Messinas – Founding Chairman of ECOWEEK and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) and the Technion, and Arch. Bracha Kunda - Social Designer and Senior Lecturer at HIT, and consultant Dr. Galia Hanoch Roe - Landscape Architect and Community Manager at Tel Aviv-Jaffa communities of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). The team aims to create a platform that enables students to take responsibility for design, planning, professional and social change and renewal in the city they live in, and to learn professional and practical tools and network with peers and professionals.
ECOWEEK is an opportunity for students and young professionals – primarily architects, designers, engineers, landscape architects and from other disciplines – to experience one week of inspiring lectures and interactive design workshops in real sites, work with communities, address real challenges, network with peers and learn about social and environmental sustainability through design.
ECOWEEK 2018 was hosted at Holon Institute of Technology, the Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv, and Dizengoff Center. Professionals and students joined from Israel, Germany, Austria, and Norway.
ECOWEEK 2018 in Israel was supported by the Holon Institute of Technology, the Municipality of Herzlyia, Goethe Institute, Dizengoff Center, the Embassy of Norway and the Embassy of Austria, and was made possible thanks to the participation of architecture and design students from the Holon Institute of Technology and the University for Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, Germany.
W1: Visitors’ Center at Tel Michal, Herzlyia
Workshop leaders: Arch. Einar Jarmund, Arch. Rebecca Sternberg, Arch. Till Boettger, and Arch. Martina Reichelt - Consultants: Dr. Galia Hanoch Roe, Dr. Elias Messinas, Arch. Braha Kunda.
The workshop focused on the preliminary design of an innovative center that combines education, research, urban nature, a connection to the Tel Michal archaeological site and the park, and a connection to the seafront and the marina in Hertzlyia. The project team considered the overall site of Tel Michal as a unique location with a strong volunteer community, which links between the urban living, hi tech industry, the commercial center on the marina and the seafront. The team acknowledged the fact that the area is slated for development with a timeframe of 25 years, and proposed strategies to engage the community with the Tel Michal area from now until the area is fully developed. The team also suggested strategies to embed sustainable design into the building and to raise awareness on the unique park. The purpose of the workshop was to propose ideas that the municipality can adopt as immediate activities or incorporate in long-term planning of the site.
W2: The Space as Exhibition at the Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv
Workshop leader: Roni Levit - Consultant: Arch. Braha Kunda.
The workshop focused on the design and installation of an infographics exhibition at the Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv in cooperation with the Goethe staff, to engage the visitors to Goethe Institute and Beit Asia, where Goethe Institute is located. The exhibition included a series of infographics installations, conveying messages on the environmental impact of disposable items. For example, the time it takes for common marine (plastic) debris to decompose compared to a human life; the amount of plastic bags used by each Israeli every year; the recycling of glass containers, the percentage of sea birds entangled with plastic debris, and a comparison of the ocean landfill of plastics compared to the size of the State of Israel. The group also created a temporary exhibition to show the day in the future that plastic waste will become an archaeological exhibit of the past.
W3: Interventions at Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv #3
Workshop leaders: Dr. Ruth Mateus-Berr & Designer Zameret Harel Kanot - Consultants: Dr. Elias Messinas, Arch. Braha Kunda.
In this workshop, the third of a series of workshops that ECOWEEK has developed with the Dizengoff Center management in the public spaces of the mall, focused on the newly renovated roof of the mall. The roof of Dizengoff Center is the site of environmental initiatives such as urban agriculture, nursery forest, and butterfly garden. The group aimed to create place for play and playful areas on the roof, to attract children and families, to promote learning, curiosity, interaction, relaxation, imagination and engaging the senses. The group research included engaging other people in play and playing themselves. The proposal of the group included a series of playful installations along the roof path, that will engage children and will enable parents to spend playful time with their children on the roof. The aim of the workshop was to present ideas that the management of the mall can adopt for implementation.
W4: From Green Campus to Sustainable Campus at HIT
Workshop leaders: Arch. Braha Kunda and Arch. Dr. Elias Messinas
Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) is a member of the network of Green Campuses in Israel and has a Green Council that initiates and oversees activity that promotes environmental action on campus. The workshop was a unique opportunity to connect students in this significant process in cooperation with the Director-General of HIT, the Green Council and the Institute's staff. The workshop group made an analysis of the conditions on the campus and mapped the existing environmental initiatives on campus. Based on the concept of ‘eco-puncture’, the group proposed a series of interventions that included an ‘outdoor classroom’ shaded by the existing trees, a microclimate garden in the courtyard of buildings 6 and 7, a therapeutic garden, a materials recycling corner outside the student workshops, an e-collaboration roof garden for students, and integrative recycling facilities scattered throughout the campus. The aim of the workshop was to create a series of sustainability interventions which the students can further develop and implement during the academic year.
Review the workshop presentations HERE
Learn more about ECOWEEK
Review past ECOWEEK workshop projects (2009-2016) in cities around the world