Nazareth housing project lets breezes dictate the design

City Breeze Nazareth Photo: Llabres Tabony Architects

Nazareth architect Aiman Tabony bucks the trend of identical buildings and standardization with an experimental design.

A new housing complex in the Galilee neighborhood in the north of Nazareth, which has adopted a unique approach to design and construction, is being developed and built by the Jewish-Arab construction company Koret Gag and Villa Ltd. on land covering 1.5 acres, 117 apartments are being marketed in four buildings including 44 apartments as part of the government's Mechir Lemishtaken Buyers Price program for young couples.

The project, called City Breeze, is designed by the British firm Llabres Tabony Architects. Aiman Tabony, who founded the company in London with Enriqueta Llabres, was born in Nazareth. His father Mahmoud Tabony, who was the first Arab in Israel to complete a doctorate in civil engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, established an architecture and engineering firm in 1964. After his death at a young age in 2005, Aiman and his brother Ashraf, an engineer took over the family firm and Aiman Tabony also founded Llabres Tabony after completing his doctorate at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in the UK.

Aiman Tabony said about the City Breeze project, "When you understand the environment you cannot choose generic solutions. When the building is being formed, it is not just a matter of the architectural concept."

Tabony is based in London part of the time and also teaches in the architecture department of Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Speaking of Llabres Tabony, he said, "This is an experimental firm that specializes in designs based on research. The firm has one foot in academia and the other in practice so that the one area enriches the second.

"Originally they wanted four, duplicated identical buildings because they said that saves money. For the architect this method also saves money because their fees are lower. But in our proposal each of the buildings are different from each other and even apartments are not the same. The developer did not understand. But these are processes in which we believe."

Tabony expands on the design process. "The design is conducted by a computerized simulation process in which we tried to understand the directions of the breezes that come from the west. According to this we in practice decided the placing and positioning of the buildings. In this way each building receives a different shape. There is no balcony that is above another one. To be precise the environmental processes influenced the design and that led us to look at the architecture as something that is assimilated into its environment."

"We don't begin with an image but rather we make a simulation that creates the design. In Israel buildings are usually constructed with an H shape. That looks fine but ultimately every building looks the same.

"To my mind, it is not logical that an apartment on the fifth floor looks exactly the same as a garden apartment. A building in between two others cannot look exactly the same as a building facing the street. We offer an antithesis to things that are being promoted today."

Tabony dismisses the claim that buildings of this type cost more than regular buildings. "I believe and I've even proven this that these buildings are not more expensive. This outlook that if floors look the same then it's cheaper to build is stereotypical. Overall they are just pushing the framework upwards and meanwhile the building contractor has no complaints. A tower has the same security rooms and the same windows and what different does it make if the balcony is on the left or the right?"

Tabony said that the developer sells the apartments according to the market price but "because the project has become unique, it is in demand."

When asked if these buildings suit the needs of the local Arab population, Tabony dismisses this question. "You have to put it out of your head that there are different communities. The needs of most populations today, worldwide, are the same. There are of course cultural aspects of more traditional societies. Do you know how many Arab students live in Tel Aviv? Arabs wear jeans and watch movies and read books."

The prices

An 85 square meter apartment in the Buyers price project costs NIS 600,000. Regular prices are NIS 1.7 million for a 145 square meter ground floor apartment, NIS 2-2.5 million for a penthouse and NIS 1.35 million for a 120 square meter apartment.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 5, 2021.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.

City Breeze Nazareth Photo: Llabres Tabony Architects
City Breeze Nazareth Photo: Llabres Tabony Architects
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