As the trend of migration from rural to urban areas continues, it is estimated that by 2050, one billion people with disabilities will live in cities. Many of these urban centers, with cores dating back hundreds or even thousands of years, are currently ill-equipped to respond to this demand. There is, therefore, an immediate challenge for architects, urban planners, and city officials to address the inaccessibility of historic cities, from uneven cobblestones to narrow, stepped alleys, creating an urban realm that offers universal mobility without detracting from their historic charm.
Jerusalem: The Latest Architecture and News
While French firefighters were putting out the destructive blaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral, another holistic site was also up in flames. Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is among the holiest sites in Islam and was built almost 1,300 years ago, was struck by blaze while the monumental Catholic Church was also devastated with fire.
The fire is said to have started in the Al-Marwani Prayer Hall - also known as Solomon's Stables - part of the same compound as Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Fortunately, firemen of the Islamic Waqf department of the city were able to control the fire before any harm was done to the individuals or the other prayer halls. While the cause remains unknown, sources claim that the fire could have been ignited accidentally by children who were near the prayer hall at the time.
Italian practice Studio Fuksas has been selected to build the new International Congress Center of Jerusalem. Sited in the “City Gateway”, the project is part of a larger expansion of the city's central business district. The new Congress Center will be built around the existing Ussishkin Hall Building, which will be redesigned to host international shows and conferences. The expansion will make the Jerusalem ICC the largest conference center in the Middle East.
SANAA's new campus for the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem is now set for a 2022 opening. Initially proposed in 2013, the new project for Israel’s national school of art broke ground back in 2015. The campus is being built in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem’s City Center. The design will bring together 2,500 students and 500 faculty members as the school moves from the current Mount Scopus Campus. The new campus aims to revitalize the city center and connect to the urban fabric of Jerusalem.
The Academy Bezalel students' bamboo project, in Jerusalem, is a proposal that approaches the construction in real scale and the experimentation with materials as an important driving force of architectural design.
The project, a suspended bamboo pavilion, can be reused with different configurations in different places with its joints made up of ropes and 3D printed pieces.
At a vibrant intersection in downtown Jerusalem, The Architecture Department at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in collaboration with the Israel Festival Jerusalem and EDEN—the Jerusalem development authority—created a temporary structure for the Israel Festival, which ran from the end of May to mid June of this year.
Located in Zion Square parallel to the tramway line, the pavilion creates a space to host art programs including lectures, concerts, dance performances, video screenings, and theater productions. The structure beautifully frames a dialogue between the urban routine and cultural experiences, giving users a new understanding of the Israel Festival, and of the potential of the spaces within their city.
Herzog & de Meuron have released new images of their design for National Library of Israel. Located on a prominent site in West Jerusalem, the National Library is at the base of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and adjacent to the Israel Museum, Science Museum and Hebrew University.
Shade isn't hard to find in Jerusalem's Vallero Square, thanks to these giant urban flowers designed by HQ Architects that bloom in the presence of pedestrians. "Warde," as the installation is called, is a set of four inflatable flowers at the entrance of the city's market square and adjacent tram station that "open up" whenever pedestrians walk by or the tram is approaching.
The Jerusalem Municipality has approved plans for mixed-use "Pyramid Tower" designed by Studio Libeskind. A collaboration with local architect Yigal Levi, the tapered tower will rise 105-meters in the heart of the city, adjacent to Mahane Yehuda market - commonly known as "The Shuk". Its form, said to reference "Jerusalem’s existing architectural language," is designed to allow maximum light to the public plaza below. A geometric pattern of Jerusalem stone and glass will adorn the facade, while its arched colonnade connects the tower's ground floor shopping arcade to the surrounding open space.
The Israeli National Library has released images of Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the library’s new home in Jerusalem. The six-story building, awarded to the Swiss practice over five others following an extensive interview process conducted last year, will be built by 2019 on a prominent site at the base of the Knesset building and adjacent to the Israel Museum, Science Museum and Hebrew University.
More image and information about the new library, after the break.
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 Ramot Polin neighborhood is a housing project designed by the Polish-born Israeli architect Zvi Hecker, commissioned by the Israeli government in the euphoric aftermath of the Six Day War. The project, which resembles a beehive, is an avant-garde architectural experiment on morphology as well as construction. Since being constructed in the late 1970s, the structure has undergone extensive alteration by its tenants, provoking a debate regarding the capacity of expressive architecture to account for authentic human needs.