Jerusalem, Israel (2016)
3rd prize winner - open competition
Although the competition limits itself to Zion Square, we believe there is greater value in the development of a coherent plan for all of Yafo Street and how it interacts with its adjacent urban spaces. We see many rewarding opportunities outside the competition area of utilising Yafo Street’s potential. But for now, we happily developed a concept just for Zion Square.
In terms of “destination”, we choose to maximise the experience of the square until the limits of the surrounding buildings. As a result of this, a disturbing unbalance between street and square, that exists until today will subsequently be resolved. It also creates a situation in which more commercial m2 will border directly to the square. In our design-conver- sation we like to see Yafo Street as a necklace with Zion Square being one of its precious beads. We give priority to the square above the street. That is, crossing Zion Square (by foot or by light train) becomes a landmark event.
The square consists of colourful patches with which we want to express (on an abstract level) that it belongs to all of the many communities that together form the people of Jerusalem.
Zion Square is traditionally also the home of the less fortunate and those who want to contribute to political dialogues. We believe that this is of great value and that the layout of the square should support various kinds of activities alongside each other. We believe, on the other hand, that Jerusalem as a city, has outgrown Zion Square as the appropriate location for mass happenings. In our design-conversation we choose to enhance the square as urban living room, intimate, complete with street furniture. It hosts people of all kinds, in the most respectable way.
Lake of Mosaic
At the base of the design is a lake of precious mosaic that marks the lowest point in Yafo Street. Existing differences in heights allow us getting an overview already from far ahead. We want any traveler in Yafo Street to get impacted by its sparkling colours, cutting edges and lyric lines. By creating a contrasting and colourful focal point, we enhance the awareness of the spectator of his position in the urban space. He will see how perspective develops towards the square.
Ben Yehuda Street also descends down to Zion Square. We like to see it as a cascade that deposits its sediments on the square. We want its specific qualities to make a local impact on the layout of Zion Square. We express this in the balance of colours, vista lines and elevated areas.
Zion Square is rooted in the collective memory of all Jerusalem people. Warm sentiments are connected to evenings of entertainment in former Zion Cinema, Cafe Europe or other nearby venues. Many are the black/white vintage pictures that show people on a romantic evening out.
New urban developments, like high-end residential and fine hotels create the conditions for Zion Square to revive its historic functions. Our mosaic square marks a red carpet around which hospitality related enterprises will emerge. We vision brasseries that unroll their terraces and serve their guests with fine food.