Location: 26 Bialik Square Tel-Aviv
Client: Tel-Aviv Foundation
Completion Date :1997
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A Unique Dialogue Between A New Building and the Historical Environment

Preserving the spirit of a historical environment does not necessarily mean a fanatic repetition of its language. The Bialik district at the heart of Tel-Aviv, with Bialik Square at its center, is a micro-document of the architectural history of Tel-Aviv from the 1920’s, the "Eclectic period " , when European architecture was brought to Israel and integrated with the local oriental architecture, to the 1930’s and the new ‘International Style’ somewhat later.

The new Music Center and Library built at Bialik Square (1997) is located on the site of a three-story residential house built in 1931 and demolished in 1994.

The key question I asked myself was, what is the right thing to do in order to preserve and enhance the spirit of what still exists around there, which is so human and right.
Standing in the square I adopted none of the classical approaches. I aimed neither to reconstruct the past nor to dissociate myself from it by enforcing a completely new order. I was looking for a language that at that point in time in Bialik Square would create a meaningful dialogue between a new, contemporary building and the historical environment.

This intimate and organic integration was created by several basic means:
The dimensions of the building were in harmony with the human scale of the square.
The orange paint of the building’s façade, apparently expected to disturb the tranquility of the square, was the element that complemented the blue color of the sky and the green color of the trees to create a harmony that inspired peace and serenity in the square.
The cornices that jut out at the facade belong morphologically both to the building and to the space next to it, uniting them together.
The crown on top of the building provides a graduated link to the sky. Its shape was derived from the same language that determined the pattern of the cement tiles of the porch and the reliefs on the railing wall.
At the front, where the building touches the square, an entrance porch was designed for the orchestra to play to the audience while they are sitting in the square. Thus creating a physical and human connection between the building and the square.
The dialogue between the building and the square continues through the high windows behind which all the indoor public “ areas are located, as well as from the roof terrace overlooking the square.

Past the main lobby, at the entrance to the building, is the auditorium, separated from it by a glass wall, through which the back garden at the far end can be seen.
At the side of the lobby there is a wide-open staircase, which is an identified beautiful space by itself. The high windows alongside the staircase allow daylight into all the parts of the building.
The first floor houses the lending library.
The second floor accommodates the museum of musical instruments and contemporary exhibitions related to music, the periodicals room and an archive. These three spaces make one visual continuum while preserving the identity and uniqueness of each space.
The top floor houses the audiovisual library. Extending from this floor, overlooking the square, is a roof terrace that has also a view of the sea.

The details of the interior, all designed by me, were not perceived as isolated ‘designed’ fragments, but as part of one hierarchical language in which the square, the building and the interior were regarded as one continuous system.