The German wins the Layer 2.0 competition

The “white city” of Tel Aviv: around 2,000 buildings in the city center, designed in the Bauhaus style by German Jews who fled Germany after the Nazis came to power, have been listed as world cultural heritage since 2003 of UNESCO. years, however, modern towers have also proliferated between these “form follows function” buildings. It is precisely this mix of old and new that makes the city’s architecture so interesting – and so complicated. Indeed, more and more people are moving to the city, which requires innovative solutions. To find them, Tel-Aviv organized an international competition called “Layer 2.0”. Architects from around the world were invited to submit ideas for five listed buildings which were to be extended by an additional two and a half floors. Candidates were asked to think about how to preserve the charm of the past while meeting the challenges of today – climate change and densely populated urban spaces.

As she walks her dog to the sound of constantly blaring car horns – also typical of Tel Aviv – Sharon Golan Yoran, contest organizer and director of the listed building and architectural center Liebling Haus in Tel Aviv, explains what makes the special layout of the city: “By creating wide thoroughfares and shopping streets but smaller residential roads, the Scottish planner has achieved a certain intimacy that makes Tel Aviv almost look like a garden city with its lots of green spaces, when in fact we are in the heart of a bustling metropolis,” says Yoran. “We appreciate the original buildings, but we also look to the future. , but must be done in a way that reflects the living conditions of our times, such as sustainability and gentrification.

Probably the simplest solution would be to build skyscrapers to create more living space in this country of immigration. It would also be very lucrative for many landowners, who repeatedly file lawsuits to protest preservation laws. However, Yoran believes that this would harm the heart of the city: “Although many buildings in the white city need renovation, they must then continue to exude the same flair. There’s enough space between buildings for a breath of fresh air, and there’s plenty of green space, which generally makes the neighborhood very livable.

Bringing city life into the home

It is a real challenge for the more than a hundred architects from all over the world who submitted their proposals. One of them is the Berlin architect Lion Schreiber, who spent several weeks working on its design: “What especially attracted me to the competition was the need to deal with pressing issues of our era, such as overcrowding, the need for living space and sustainability, and how to manage our architectural heritage. Moreover, I have a penchant for Bauhaus architecture that I have already seen during several stays in Israel.

Lion Schreiber’s proposal, which received first prize from an illustrious jury of German and Israeli architects, features a concrete construction supported by pillars, giving the impression that the additional floors “float” above the building existing. This gives rise to shady courtyard spaces for cafes and shops, bringing city life into the home and encouraging people to go out and meet, thus facilitating social exchanges, which are essential for peaceful coexistence in a multicultural world. .

But couldn’t we just add extra floors in the style of the original building? Sharon Golan Yaron doesn’t think it’s a good idea: “The city is like an open-air museum. Such an extension of the buildings would lose the classic Bauhaus proportions. In our approach, the boundaries between new and old are visible to all.

The partnership between Germany and Israel in this area should be further expanded: “Layer 2.0 does not only apply to Israel, it is a global phenomenon. Namely the need to accommodate more people in less space,” says the initiator of the Yaron project, adding that lessons can be learned from Germany on how to better preserve period buildings: homes in Israel tend to be neglected, each focusing only on their own little kingdom. This is gradually changing and people are starting to like the idea of ​​sharing more.

Competition winners from South Korea, Germany and Israel will travel to Liebling Haus in Tel Aviv to present their work in September and shape the future of the white city in all its many facets.

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