Modern trends in the Israeli architecture

Among the fields of human endeavour architecture is special in that it tries to pursue two often conflicting goals – aesthetic beauty and practicality. Architects strive to achieve a perfect balance by providing designs which are both pleasing to the eye and perfectly functional but the results vary. My post will look at how one particular style in the modern Israeli building design meets this challenge.

Let us first check out a new design for public building – in this case a railway station:

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The building’s form is intriguing in its strong, solid presence. This impression is further reinforced by the detailing – oversized columns and thick reinforced concrete roof. The glazed façade opens to the East while the West side of the building disappears underground. This is an interesting public utility building, perhaps aesthetically on the heavy side but apparently very well received by the local population. Now a modern elementary school from the same area:

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The emphasis on horizontal lines and large eyebrows over slot windows give this building a squat, powerful look. It is further underlined by the choice of material – in this case reinforced concrete blocks with plaster render to the first floor. Again, the design has produced a reassuring look which is loved by the parents of the school’s students. The next example is a school retrofit project:

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The added elements – concrete roof sections supported by steel frames – do not blend well with the original building fabric. They appear to upset the sense of balance and make the structure look top-heavy. I feel that the architects could have done more to marry the old and the new but even this somewhat laboured effort apparently does the job it was designed for. Let us now have a look at another school building representing the same architectural trend in Israel:

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This time the concrete roof integrates much better with the shell below. The massive canopy over the entry adds to the solid look while avoiding the industrial theme of the school retrofit project above. For an even better example of a heavy concrete canopy see the next photo:

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This project also features small windows and concrete eyebrows similar to the elementary school building above. Kudos to the architects for merging all these elements into one, functional entity. To prove that small outbuildings can also have a distinct architectural style the next examples were taken from the playgrounds in the same area of Israel:

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A bomb shelter decorated as a serpent stretches across a public playground in the Israeli town of Sderot

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The somewhat heavy, structural look has been softened by the bright colour schemes and murals. Well done.

A note for those who did not “click”: all these buildings are located in the settlement of Sderot, 1km away from the Gaza strip border, which is under regular bombardment with the Palestinian Qassam rockets.

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