Urban Wildlife & the Water Tower

A COMPETITION WINNING ENTRY

THE COMPETITION-
The competition ‘Water Tower- new perspectives’ was held between Aug-Dec 2010 and organized by the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Berkeley University and the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites (SPIHS). Hundreds of water towers were built in different periods and styles across Israel, many of which now stand dry, noticeably disintegrating. What used to be a sign of vitality now stands as a shameful memory of useless concrete, carrying antennas or advertisement posters. Very few municipalities have realized the historic and cultural value of the water tower and renewed the structure. Most of the towers, however, haven’t been gracefully treated, if at all. The competition called for contemporary interpretations for the Israeli water tower in general, and for a specific design suggestion referring to an existing tower. The design should take into consideration the communal role; resume its position as public space in a form adequate to the contemporary lifestyle and specific context. Moreover, it should respect and value matters of conservation.

THE DESIGN-
We have identified the potential within the urban water towers – functioning and abandoned – with their height, unique structure and strategic locations, to act as an impetus for encouraging an urban wildlife. Their obvious characteristics as urban landmarks and meeting places suggest expanding their designated function as natural systems. Our design suggests defining and addressing this strategy to urban water towers in general, using the Ramat HaNasy Tower in Bat Yam as a pilot to examine the physical and programmatic actions, methods and procedures necessary.

MAIN GOALS-
1. Saving biodiversity 2. Reintroducing species that previously existed in the region 3. Water sources to attract migrating birds in the autumn 4. Education, information: signage, explanations, viewing platforms, seasonal and daily activities, special events and guided tours, internet platforms for continuous updates 5. Strengthening the sites presence and within the local community and specifically within the nearby school.

  • Role Architect, in association with Ofer Bilik
  • For Ramat HaNasy, Bat Yam
  • Date 2011