Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration Project in Tel Aviv, Israel by Mayslits Kassif Architects
March 19th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Situated on one of Israel’s most breathtaking waterfronts, the Tel Aviv Port was plagued with neglect since 1965, when its primary use as an operational docking port was abandoned. The recently completed public space development project by Mayslits Kassif Architects, managed to restore this unique part of the city, and turn it into a prominent, vivacious urban landmark.
The architects viewed the project as a unique opportunity to construct a public space which challenges the common contrast between private and public development, and suggests a new agenda of hospitality for collective open spaces. The design, a winner of an open competition held in 2003 (entry submitted by Mayslits Kassif Architects in collaboration with Galila Yavin) was quickly brought to life by a new management, with locals and visitors flocking to the revamped port even before the project was completed.
Remarkably, despite city planning being dominated by market forces, and because of its immense popularity among the public, the project has been able to circumvent massive development schemes intended for the port’s 5 hectares area. The suspension of all the area’s rezoning plans set a precedent for creating an urban transformation not propelled by building rights, but rather by a unique design strategy, which renovates the existing hangars and invests in the public space regeneration.
The design introduces an extensive undulating, non-hierarchical surface, that acts both as a reflection of the mythological dunes on which the port was built, and as an open invitation to free interpretations and unstructured activities. Various public and social initiatives – from spontaneous rallies to artistic endeavors and public acts of solidarity – are now drawn to this unique urban platform, indicating the project’s success in reinventing the port as a vibrant public sphere.
Nowadays when approximately 2.5 million people visit the Tel Aviv Port every year– a record number for a metropolitan area spanning 1 million residents, in a country of 7 million – the port’s public spaces renewal is considered one of the most influential project of its kind in Tel Aviv. Alongside receiving international recognition and several prestigious architectural awards, such as the Rosa Barba European Landscape Prize for 2010, it receives great affection from the public and is ranked as the most beloved recreation space by the inhabitants of Tel Aviv’s metropolitan area. Being a new urban landmark which revives the city’s waterfront, the project became a trigger for a series of public space projects along Tel Aviv’s shoreline which altogether revolutionize the city’s connection to its waterfront.
Mayslits Kassif Architects was founded in Tel Aviv in 1994 by Ganit Mayslits Kassif and Udi Kassif. Since its inception the practice has won several major public competitions and awards, reflecting the practice’s view of architecture as an agent of urban and environmental transformation.
Since 1997 Mayslits Kassif Architects have won several major public competitions such as: the Remez – Arlozorov Community Campus in Tel Aviv, the regeneration of Ashdod City Center, the regeneration of the Tel Aviv Port public spaces and the planning competition for the Natural Gas Stations, held by the National Gas Authority.
Following the success of its work, the practice was awarded several prestigious architectural awards:
• Winner of The Rosa Barba European Landscape Prize and the Audience Choice award for the Tel Aviv Port public space regeneration project in The 6th European Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona 2010.
• Ot Haitzuv award 2010 – Remez- Arlozorov Community Campus was chosen as the best public building in Israel.
• ‘Rokah Award‘ (for remarkable architectural projects in Tel Aviv-Jaffa)- Remez- Arlozorov Community Campus was chosen by the Tel Aviv municipality on 2010.
• Rechter Prize 2009 (for a distinctive architectural project) was given to the Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration Project by the Israeli ministry of culture.
• Ot Haitzuv award 2007 – Tel Aviv Port Public Space Regeneration was chosen as the best Urban Architectural Project in Israel.
Ganit Mayslits Kassif obtained her Diploma in Architecture (with honors) from the University of Westminster in London in 1990 and afterwards led a Diploma Unit at the Bartlett School of Architecture for four years. Alongside directing major urban and public space projects in Israel, she writes and lectures on architects’ role as leaders and innovators in the vital urban and environmental challenges.
Udi Kassif has graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, following his studies in Vienna and Jerusalem. During this last decade he has guided Mayslits Kassif into winning a number of major architectural competitions in a wide range of design practice, including residential, public buildings and urban schemes. Currently he is developing new interdisciplinary strategies for some of the most significant urban regeneration projects in Israel.
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Category: Port's public spaces
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