Urban design in israel

The R.I.B.A Bookshops Online, UK

"There is no other book quite like this one, it really is singular and worthy of your close attention..."


URBAN DESIGN International (2007) 12, Palgrave Macmillan Journal

In her introductory biographical note, architect Nili Portugali describes her early and unsatisfactory encounter with the quantitative methodologies of late 1960s' architecture and planning…. hers is not a work of philosophy, but a case study of a particular approach to architecture, and the real aim is to present the work and discuss its evolution. She does this in great detail. Indeed, next to the verbiage of many architectural monographs, hers is clear enough….. Drawing on analogies to Shaker buildings, Buddhist philosophy and other sources, she describes the fundamental difference between collections and assemblies of fragmented parts, and the process of differentiation….This notion of differentiating from an existing condition – of transforming an existing whole – is key to Portugali's design method… Portugali lays out a remarkably diverse set of projects: public buildings, mixed-use commercial projects, private houses….. It does not refer to any particular style, nor does it include the mix of stylistic elements that architectural critics love to hate – the dreaded 'pastiche'….And yet, neither is it obsessed with invention and constant newness.

There is an ordinariness about it, a familiarity, and yet a sense of uniqueness, striking beauty and dignity too.

It does not seem too concerned with being 'of its time', date-stamped as fashionably current….. Portugali notes that she does not try to reconstruct the past, nor does she try to avoid re-creating it. Rather, she simply follows the patterns that are appropriate for a site and context, which are often the same ones that have been appropriate in the past, and are likely to be appropriate in the future. …… This is Portugali's… humanist design philosophy: insistent that technology, of whatever time and place, must above all be the servant of human well-being…. There is in this sense a universality to Portugali's work that is in one sense unremarkable and in another, in the context of so much contemporary architecture, radical and revolutionary….

Portugali's quiet revolution may be the one that passes the ultimate test of time.

Journal of Architectural Education (JAE), Volume 62:2, 2008, Wiley / Blackwell

"She is an Architect more than a theorist. This is an important distinction because what she is presenting in the book is a codified methodology derived from her architectural practice. Portugali, like Alexander believes in universals in the human psyche because, as she writes, ‘‘there is an ultimate truth common to us all as human beings”…… If Portugali’s holistic-phenomenological approach to architecture is not new, it is nonetheless refreshing and her book will be of great value to anyone who believes that what ever else buildings should mean or be or do, they should at the very least satisfy us as human."

Books Supplement, Ha'aretz December 13, 2006

"It is not every day that a book is published which describes the world view of an Israeli architect with a fascinating body of work and a structured thesis about how architecture should be practiced here, Such is Nili Portugali’s book..."

For Full Text  (Hebrew)

'Arquitectura' magazine, 1.3.2007

The Art of Creation and the Spirit of Place (A Arte da Criação e o Espírito do Lugar), o livro em que Nili Portugali desenvolve, com o apoio de quase 600 ilustrações, a sua concepção de arquitectura holística, foi publicado pela editora Axel-Menges, de Estugarda e Londres, e declarado 'Livro da Semana' na categoria de livros de arquitectura, pela Associação Britânica de Arquitectos.

For Full Text (Portuguese)




Clive Anderton, The Deputy Private secretary
TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Her Royal Highness was deeply touched that you thought of him….looks forward very much to dipping in to your fascinating book…

Prof. Michael Turner, Architect
Chairman of UNESCO World Heritage, Israel office
Department of Architecture, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem

‘Ms Portugali has developed the holistic approach to architecture and design. The subject matter is becoming increasingly important with the highlighting of a more humanistic approach to architecture and the need to translate the issues of sustainability and environment in the language of design. I feel that the ….could fill a need between the simple architectural monologue and the rather obscure architectural theories…… The author has had much experience in research and teaching over the years and has an active architectural practice where she puts her ideas into practice…. She has been recognized by the professional community with a number of prizes and awards, thus recognizing her very special approach to architecture. I believe that the book could have an appeal for an intelligent lay-public’

Prof. Zeev Druckman, Architect
Head of the Department of Architecture, Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design, Jerusalem in

I see the utmost importance in Nili Portugali’s book where she discusses a line of thought which presents a holistic, infinite and timeless architecture, as against other books presenting finite and one – time works of architecture. All this makes the book unique and important to Architects, students, academics and all those thinkers who see the world as a system of relationships on any level….

Dr. Artemis Anninou, Architect
Co-Author with Christopher Alexander / A New Theory of Urban Design/Oxford University
Press, 1987
A member of The Elliniki Technodomiki / Aktor /TEB Group, Greece

‘All her buildings portray a humanistic approach to design and construction; people have priority in all her projects; the importance of every detail, every material, and every color is obvious when you see the whole and how they are combined together. And all she did has come out of the deep drive to improve buildings and architecture and the life of people who use them. The book exemplifies her personality and the talents…. The uniqueness of this book, in relation to other architectural books, relies to the fact that there has no book written about the interrelation between the theoretical ideas discussed in the internationally scientific discourse and its implementation or interpretation in the Architecture within context of Israel, the Mediterranean & the middle east region. And thus being of international interest…

Jean Renoux
Ecologreen , Art & Architectural Tours & Seminars

"Your book would be another voice, another way to tell the profession that we need at some point soon to look at architecture in a much more holistic way, putting back some emotion into it, connecting architecture to the earth and not creating totally artificial surroundings that disconnect us from our origins, from nature."

Scott Doddington, Manager, Cody's Bookshop, San Francisco

"In reading about your book, I must say that I'm fascinated by and in completeWith your design philosophy. I think that many others in our agreement community will also respond to this book as well..."

Eva Marie Mercurio, Rhode Island School of Design

"I'm currently an older student of architecture in Rhode Island, USA. I came across your book. I just love it, your projects, and the thought process behind the projects!! Although I live many miles from you, thank you for your wonderful contributions to society, the architectural profession and the spirit of life!"

Prof. Nikos Salingaros, Department of mathematics, University of Texas, San Antonio Practicing Urbanist and Architectural Theorist

"I am reading your new book, which our library just got. Congratulations, it is a very nice book, and I love your buildings. I hope you can reach a wide audience this way..."


For Selected Reviews & Notes in Hebrew

Nili Portugali is an architect working in Israel, her work is in the domain of building design, urban design, landscape design and interior design.
She is specialized in public buildings, private houses, residential, commercial and masterplans.