Studio PEZ along with Zarhy Architects have won the international competition to design the District Courthouse Complex in Jerusalem, Israel. The new 40,000 sqm complex, which will contain all court facilities (aside from the supreme court), will act as a “new landmark in Jerusalem,” according to Daniel Zarhy and Pedro Peña Jurado of Studio PEZ.
Their winning proposal – “City of Justice” – was praised by the jury for being “alive, interesting, and [...] designed with much attention to detail.” By re-interpreting the courthouse typology and dividing the program into different masses, the architects not only avoided a monolithic appearance and achieved a human scale, but also allowed for phase-by-phase project execution, an aspect which was favoured by the jury.
The District Courthouse is a part of a current construction boom in the capital, which includes a new high-rise tower by Daniel Libeskind and the National Library by Herzog & De Meuron. More images, drawings, and the architects’ description after the break…
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has dropped their controversial proposal to ban the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the umbrella organization the International Union of Architects (UIA). Intended as a sanction against the IAUA for failing to “resist projects on illegally-occupied land,” supporters of the proposal had hoped it would be discussed at the UIA World Congress in Durban in August, however the UIA has confirmed that it will not include the motion as it is beyond their ‘political scope’.
In response to the highly controversial episode – which garnered criticism both in the UK and as far afield as the United States - the RIBA has announced a new working group that will “consider the institute’s role in engaging with communities facing civil conflict and natural disaster.”
More on the decision by the UIA and the new RIBA Ethics Group after the break
Written to accompany the minimal exhibition of the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, “The Urburb – Patterns of Contemporary Living” tells the story of the Urburb, a built condition which is neither urban nor suburban, that dominates the contemporary Israeli landscape. Edited by Architect Ori Scialom and Dr. Roy Brand, the book brings together architectural photography and photographs of the installation interspersed amongst theoretical texts and short stories which address the cultural, political, and social aspects of the “Urburban” way of life. Learn more about the book, published by Sternthal Books, here.
Israel is a country that was built with modernism as its guide. It flourished in a particular way and resulted in a unique architectural landscape, not only in terms of singular buildings, but also in the way in which the territory itself was planned. Anti-urban in essence, the Sharon Plan from 1951 gave birth to more than 400 new towns scattered across the territory.
This new landscape -a tabula rasa- evolved into a variety of patterns and forms, a landscape that is neither Urban nor Suburban.
“Urburb” is the title of the Israeli exhibit at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Within the pavilion, a constant robotic performance traces the patterns that resulted from the Sharon plan in the sand, only to erase them after a few minutes and then draw them again. It is a performance that makes one think about the future of new settlements and the possibilities of robotic construction.
The New York chapter of the AIA has officially voiced its objection to a proposal by the RIBA to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (UIA). A letter drafted by AIANY President Lance Jay Brown and Chief Executive Rick Bell, and unanimously approved by AIANY’s board of directors, states that “the UIA’s stated goal is to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination”, and refers to the proposal to suspend the IAUA as “directly antithetical to the purpose of the much appreciated umbrella organization”.
The original proposal by the RIBA, adopted on March 19th, condemns the IAUA for its failure to “resist projects on illegally-occupied land” in the West Bank and Gaza, and calls on the UIA to suspend the body until it “acts to resist these illegal projects, and observes international law, and the UIA Accords and Resolution 13.”
Read on for more on the controversial backstory to the RIBA’s motion
Neither urban nor suburban, the Urburb is a fragmented mosaic of one hundred years of modernist planning in Israel: early twentieth century garden-cities, mid-century social housing and generic, high-rise residential typologies of the past two decades. These residential mutations dominate the contemporary Israeli landscape, expanding and replacing existing textures, in an endless, repetitive cycle.
In response to the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week, Eyal Weizman has written an interesting investigation into how the controversial politician used architecture and urban planning as a tool in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deploying settlements like military tactics rather than simply as housing strategy. The piece is an insightful examination of how power and even violence can be manifest in design, as evidenced by Sharon’s “architecture of occupation”. You can read the full article here.