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Tel Aviv residents throw open their doors

Posted By Abigail Klein Leichman On June 13, 2011 @ 12:00 am In | No Comments

About 80,000 people came to Tel Aviv’s fifth annual Open House weekend, Houses from Within, last month, for free guided tours of 140 sites chosen for their significant form, design, history, culture, technology or ecology.

Billed as an urban celebration, Houses from Within is part of a global network of such annual events under the umbrella of the Open House International organization started 19 years ago in London. Another takes place each September in Jerusalem.

Open House officials from London, Dublin, Galloway, Ljubljana, Slovenia, New York, Chicago, Rome, Barcelona and Melbourne were invited to Tel Aviv for their first face-to-face meeting ever. After taking part in some of the tours, they discussed the influence of architecture and design on national conservation and the revival of city centers as historic urban cultural hubs.

Find out more in our photographs – by Ron Henzel – below:

Houses from Within participants waiting at Dizengoff Square for an architectural and historical tour presenting the works of Auerbach, Gidoni & Cohen — three female Tel Aviv women architects of the 1930s. Led by the architect Sigal Davidi, who is researching the topic for her PhD dissertation, the tour stopped at three residential buildings that were planned by these women and examined their work in the context of life in the future state of Israel at the time.

This is the interior of one of the houses designed by the female architects Auerbach, Gidoni & Cohen in the 1930s.

Six separate Houses from Within tours for 15 people each provided a glimpse into two unusual offices of a stock market software developer at 2 Tashach Street. The first office, planned in 2005 and designed in the form of an unlit bar, was a nod to the nightlife and values of Tel Aviv. The newer office was recently remodeled by Idit Riftin across from the old one. In keeping with its occupants’ interest in fitness, it features a professional boxing ring, swimming pool, fitness equipment and locker rooms, all surrounded by work stations.

Houses from Within participants got to tour the Remez-Arlozorov Community Center, at 95 Arlozorov Street, with the Mayslits Kassif Architects who completed it in 2009 from a design they’d submitted to an open architecture competition held in 1998. The project attempts to create a meticulous aesthetic environment for children enrolled in the daycare centers and kindergartens on premises, as well as employees working in offices of the local social services agency. The kindergartens are two-story structures that create urban play areas.

The penthouse apartment of Yoel Bernstein and Tzipi Einot, at 8 Jabotinsky Street overlooking the sea and Independence Park, features a remodeled interior by Einot. Her 2008 project decreased the number of rooms and created airy and bright spaces. The design was influenced by artifacts collected by the owners when traveling around the world – some of which they redesigned or refinished.

The Tel Aviv Museum Expansion Project, now in its final stages under the direction of US architect Preston Scott Cohen and Israeli architect Amit Nemlich, was a popular pre-registered stop on the Houses from Within tour. Nemlich, who is in charge of executing the project in Israel, showed visitors around the intricate award-winning building designed by Cohen, director of the architecture degree program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

This apartment at 26 Hissin Street is located in a building dating back to the 1930s. Last year, architects Miriam Maimon and Bruria Shaked-Okon did extensive and painstaking renovations that included razing the walls and joining the original small rooms into one large and airy space. The renovations also exposed a wall made out of silicate bricks, and the constructional changes were underscored as a design concept.

Architect Uri Palan`s 180-square-meter loft at 6 Rothschild Boulevard takes up an entire floor of an old downtown building. Designed in a minimalist style, the space is comprised of a large kitchen joined with the living room, bedrooms (separated by a glass partition) and an office. It reveals the resident architect’s fondness for diverse building materials.

Avi Levi of the City Beautification Division at the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality explained to Houses from Within guests how the city planned and is carrying out the renovation of the Ecological Pool at Rabin Square. The pool, which for many years was hidden behind a wall and only recently was revealed to the view of passersby, illustrates how even mild intervention in a built space can affect its use and turn it into an appealing site.

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