New Look For a Landmark- Competition



            A major rebuilding project at the northern entrance to Tel Aviv is about to render the landmark site unrecognizable. The educational complex known as Seminar Hakibbutzim ('kibbutz college') will get a new, contemporary campus as part of a mammoth real estate development financed by the Phoenix Group. Because the ultimate plan for the area of the campus and surrounding structures is still under negotiation, the entrepreneurs chose to offer two closed competitions. The Rothman-Raz architectural firm was selected to design four residential towers from proposals submitted by Moshe Tzur in collaboration with Man-Shenar, Mazor-First and Asaf Gottesman. For the design of the new campus, Kimmel-Eshkolot with Palmoni-Zamir were selected. Other competing firms were: Kolker-Kolker-Epstein, Moshe Tzur with Nir Chen, Mann-Shinar, Lerman-Lerman-Sdomi, and Rothman-Raz, Dagan Mochly.

            In line with current trends, the programme takes into account projected increases in the number of students, as well as building and future maintenance costs. Considerable effort has gone into integration of the long-established seminar, with its image as a cultural and 'green' institution within the new context.


            Competition winners Kimmel-Eshkolot Architects (associate architect Ilan Karmi) teamed with Palmoni-Zamir Architects proposed a 'dynamic complex which creates a variety of meeting points.' According to representatives of the two firms, the team’s work called for “leaving ego at home,” and for progress at each side to be based on the full agreement of all architects involved. The plan is based on the creation of a large park to grant the students a feeling of spaciousness despite the drastic reduction in campus area demanded by the construction of the residential towers. This was achieved through the creation of a connection with the Shafdan Canal which crosses the campus, use of 'green' facades, and utilization of the library roof as an activity area. Pedestrian traffic will be directed through small streets leading to a sunken square. The side of the campus adjacent to the main Tel Aviv-Haifa highway will be open and will act, according to its planners, as a calling-card projecting the seminar’s unique ecological aspect. The exposed facade is intended to express the integration of nature with modern architecture.


            The entry of Kolker-Kolker-Epstein Architects was based on fortification of the urban fabric by the campus buildings, emphasizing architectural simplicity and clarity. The Jerusalem architects proposed turning drawbacks in the project’s master plan to advantages through the cooperation of all planners, i.e. city authorities, the designers of the residential towers, and the project overseers. In contrast to the rather open facade offered by the competition winners, Kolker-Kolker-Epstein proposed a relatively closed facade along the highway to function as a display window that would upgrade the street’s image. Like the winning team, Kolker-Kolker-Epstein also proposed the lavish use of greenery in order to create shading.


            Lerman Architects emphasized the reduction of the site and increase in built areas as an opportunity to redefine the seminar in relation to the new context. This is expressed in the constant activity projected over the area through a transparent envelopment.

            In line with all the competition entries, the proposal submitted by Moshe Tzur and Nir Chen firms emphasized the new relationship established by the residential neighborhood. Underlining the significant of the seminar as a landmark at the northern entrance to the city, Tzur and Chen also emphasized the exposure of the west side towards the new residential neighborhood, in contrast to the east wing aligned with the highway and characterized by a representational facade. They detached the seminar courtyard from the Shafdan park and based the constructional scheme on two separate wings along the borders of the site, with a defining green space between them.


            Selected to design the master plan and the detailed design of the residential towers, Rothman-Raz Architects related to the juncture created when two functions of conflicting natures are brought together. Their proposal was based on a graduated construction with tiled roofs, which creates terraces facing the center of the campus. In this way the college buildings would be made remote from the residential area. The plan is based on linear inner courtyards enabling penetration of light and ventilation into the core of the buildings.


            In contrast to the monolithic structure envisioned by Rothman-Raz, the proposal submitted by Mann-Shinar architects is based on a selection of separate buildings, each with its own presence. Passage of students among the buildings would flow under a large metal roof that unites the campus elements.


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