The new neighborhood to be built on the site of what was Sde Dov Airport in north Tel Aviv has aroused curiosity about the prices in the construction tenders, and also about the planning and design. Last week, architects working on design for the neighborhood, for plans already approved and in progress, received a document from the Tel Aviv Municipality containing construction guidelines: "City Engineer’s Guidelines for Urban Construction and Design in the Sde Dov Neighborhood", which sets out the planned architectural design and environmental development for the entire neighborhood, and the Eshkol site in particular.
According to the document, the new neighborhood will be composed of three types of construction: perimeter block buildings up to nine floors high; low towers of up to 16 floors; and towers of over 20 floors. The towers will be dispersed randomly in all parts of the neighborhood, and will be of up to 45 floors. The document says that construction should be uniform, without buildings of conspicuously different design. It is estimated that two-room apartments will start at NIS 3 million, and four-room apartments at NIS 5 million.
The document encourages design of buildings with colonnades along main streets, and allows colonnades to continue for up to 14 meters in side streets.
Many of the buildings will have ground floors with commercial activity, offices, and public services.
"The aim is to create a neighborhood that is a real city, with streets that are pleasant to walk along, and where things happen all the time," is how architect Orit Muhlbauer-Eyal of Muhlbauer Architects interprets the guidelines document. "The intention is good; the question is whether the means they have adopted will lead to that result," she says.
"The municipality is trying to adopt things that worked in streets such as Ibn Gabirol and Basel, but it won’t be the same. The most substantial reason for that, and this is a mistake made when the Urban Building Plan was drawn up, is stipulating very wide main streets, between 24 and 32 meters. Streets like this do not give an urban feel. It’s too wide for it to feel like a real street," says Muhlbauer-Eyal.
The Tel Aviv Municipality told "Globes" in response: "The plan is for a 30-meter wide street with wide pavements for passers-by and tree planting along the entire length for shade, allowing for the development of an inviting space in which to walk, alongside a solution for traffic, parking, and bicycle paths."
The guidelines call for plaster, decorative plaster, or exposed concrete finishes, and recommends against stone cladding. Dark cladding will not be allowed. There will be passageways between internal gardens of the blocks. There are detailed provisions for the type, size, and appearance of balconies.
The document devotes an extensive chapter to sustainability and environmental protection. It calls for roof gardens, and the installation of solar panels to generate electricity. Each building will have an energy consumption forecast drawn up for it, and the aim is that at least 10% of forecast consumption will be from renewable sources. These requirements are something new in the planning of whole neighborhoods in Israel.
The plan also stipulates that 15% of each plot should be free of impermeable construction and construction underground, in order to enable run-off rainwater to be absorbed. All construction will be required to abide by the green construction standard.
Yael Dori, head of planning at environmental organization Adam Teva V'Din, says however that the treatment of climate aspects is inadequate. "While in other countries plans are accompanied by a greenhouse gases survey and means of cutting emissions to zero, in Israel there is still no target for supplying energy from renewable sources, and a loophole is left for use of fossil fuels. The plan even allows 700 square meters to be allocated to ‘energy production centers’, including in public open areas."
Dori adds that "the building line is too close to the sea, and does not ensure a broad enough public beach for the coming years."
The Tel Aviv Municipality responded: "Sustainable planning and renewable energy are an integral part of the planning of the built environment. Among other things, the plan requires meeting green building rules, rainwater management, energy generation, shade, and moderation of the urban heat island phenomenon."
Commenting on criticism that the plan was too restrictive and did not allow sufficient architectural freedom, Tal Venger, VP Urban Planning and Environmental Consulting at AVIV AMCG Management & Consulting, says, "This neighborhood presents an excellent, innovative concept, particularly in its willingness to combat the dogmatism that has existed in Israel for many years. The Tel Aviv Municipality has a privilege, because of the high value of the land, and can dictate to developers what it wants and what suits it.
"Most municipalities in Israel are weak in working vis-à-vis developers and contractors, and so it comes about that in the end it is they that dictate the character of development, and not the municipality. And so we get those neighborhoods that all look the same. The developers and contractors have their own considerations when it comes to construction. That’s why, in my view, there is great justification for an urban architectural design document such as the one distributed by the Tel Aviv Municipality. It is intended to give the municipality control, and to make a statement about how it wants things to look in the new public space."
The Tel Aviv Municipality stated, "The guidelines were written as a result of an open architectural discussion on urban design in the new neighborhood. It is important to point out that giving design guidelines for buildings and public spaces makes it possible to preserve the public’s interest in having a good, sustaining urban environment, while providing planning certainty and architectural freedom in the planning of each building."
The Sde Dov neighborhood covers 1,490 dunams (375 acres), and is located in the north of Tel Aviv. It is planned to house some 41,000 people in 16,000 housing units.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 28, 2022.
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