The Arty Semite

In Israel, Cubism of a Different Sort

By Noam Dvir

Wiki Commons
The Garden Tower by Ilan Pivko in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Crossposted from Haaretz

New cottage neighborhoods in west Rishon Letzion symbolize the suburbanization of Israel. The process can be found in stretches between Hadera and Ashdod, where middle-class residents chase their dream of a high quality of life near cities. The most visible traits of this phenomenon are conformism and uniformity: the same furnishings, the same anonymous grass lawns. The mix of middle-class comforts, strong public institutions and shopping centers is supposed to guarantee a high standard of living. This part of the country is based on a rigid geographic principle: Each site must be identical.

In this context, Rishon Letzion’s Villa Nobel neighborhood, designed by architect Ilan Pivko with 72 houses, offers a critique of Israeli suburbanization and the typical “build-your-own-house” neighborhood. The new neighborhood offers white, boxy Bauhaus dwellings instead of tiled roofs. The neighborhood’s design implicitly criticizes the mess that characterizes private-home architecture in Israel.


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