Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spring in Hiriya - SABA 2013 presentation and inauguration

The department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy and Park Ariel Sharon are pleased to invite you to the presentation and inauguration of SABA 2013 projects in Hiriya on Monday 24/06/2013 at 16:00.
Gathering and departure: HaZera Farm, 298 Lydia Road (Bar-Lev Road)

In spring 2013 SABA arrived at Park Ariel Sharon in Hiriya. Initiated by Dr. Martin Weyl and planned by Latz+Partner, this project strives to rehabilitate the garbage mountain that has been sprawling in this place since the end of the Independence War, to develop 8000 Dunums of open areas, fields, streams and ponds and to re-use them for various cultural, natural and leisure activities.
During the semester, the students studied the park and its environmental challenges; they had to plan and to build 4 structures that cast shadows of 25 sqm each. The budget was fixed to zero. The structures will stand in the park from June 24th for 10 days. 

(More about SABA - here.)

(Photo: Einat Gazit)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A brief summary of SABA* welcome manifesto

A Crippled Architect 
“An architect who had never done a building, who never went through the whole process of a building, from scratch to the end of the construction, is a crippled architect. In order not to be crippled, every architect should do this at least once in his career.” Those clever words were said to me by the Israeli architect Avraham Yasky (1927-), formerly my employer and later the protagonist of my second book, while handling me the project that would become my first building. I have always been grateful to him for this.

In 1932, many years before the realization of his first project, Philip Johnson, then a young curator at the MOMA, wrote “Architecture is always a set of actual monuments, not a vague corpus of theory” (The International Style, p. 21).
Architecture has to be realized. It has to be real. You may do many things related to architecture – write, read, study, teach or even practice – but if you have not realized a project, you will be a “crippled architect” according to Yasky, or you may not even call yourself an architect according to Johnson.

Architects and Masons
While any architect can cite Adolf Loos’s famous saying “An architect is a mason who had learned Latin” (“Architecture and Education”), not only Latin, in general, has never been a part of the standard architectural education but more surprisingly masonry too has been almost completely absent from the architectural syllabi.
In fact, since the beginnings of modern architectural education in the mid 19th century, architecture schools all over the western world have chosen to provide the students mainly with representational skills - descriptive geometry during the 19th and the 20th centuries, computer assisted conception and drawing in our times. The syllabi were organized according the notion and the rhythm of the studio project, which is in general and by definition fictitious, speculative and hypothetical: it is acknowledged and understood from the very beginning that the project will remain a project, that it would never be realized or built.

Drawing and Withdrawing
Although architects like to say that they build buildings, they do not actually build. In most cases architects do not build at all; they just sit at their desks, in front of their computers, in their studios, ateliers or offices and design, draw and model buildings.
Practically, the withdrawal of modern times’ architectural practice into representation implies a progressive diminishment of the architect’s responsibility and the delegation or the outsourcing of his traditional tasks to other specialists or professionals. There would be numerous decisions that the architect will no longer have to take, and a considerable amount of information that would be irrelevant for him. More importantly, in the modern distribution of tasks it is taken for granted that there would be someone else to do the hard labor: the architect will not do the masonry.

Construction sites as micro societies
If we will try to understand architecture simply by its means of production, to think of it not only as a set of images but as a part of a social and economical process that takes place within the Real, it would be impossible not to see how the production process of a building reproduces and aggravates the social divisions between white collars (architects) and blue collars (masons, laborers), and how, regardless to our best intentions, our construction sites may appear as social theatres in which one might witness, inflict or suffer the worst of our actual class systems.

*Founded in 2005 , SABA is my studio for Spontaneous Architecture at the Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. At SABA, students invent experimental straying techniques, explore improvised construction materials and develop immediate technologies. During their SABA program, the students build the first building in their career and spend there the last night of the semester.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Histories of Jaffa and South Tel Aviv - English subtitled Hebrew interview by David Sheen

This interview was made by David Sheen in the framework of a Report for the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) - submitted January 30, 2012 .