israeli pavilion at the un conference in Quito, Ecaudor
the exhibition “Lay of the Land” was designed for the Israeli pavilion at ‘HABITAT III’ , the UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development, took place in Quito, Ecuador, october 2016.
The 40 sqm of the pavilion walls were designed as a wall survey. A scaled city comprised of different urban spatial typologies was built on those walls, and the visitors were invited to choose a figure and pin it on their favorite spot in the city. This way the walls functioned as a continuous visual survey of urban qualities.
Throughout its 68 years of existence, the State of Israel has faced an ever increasing demand for housing, due to large immigration waves. Yet from 2011, the country is dealing with a highly debated housing crisis that has led to an unprecedented scope of planning, be it neighborhoods, large housing projects, or even entire cities. However, whilst both government plans and public attention are centered on producing residential units, this outstanding planning and building surge offers a unique opportunity to explore the spaces it creates in-between – the chance for a hands-on transformation of the Israeli urban environment. The Israeli pavilion at Habitat III presents the groundwork for this unique effort. Not only does it gather the wide range of Israeli urban initiatives , it also attempts to synchronize them and generate new tools for enhancing communication between the involved parties, thereby facilitating collaboration and mutual exchange of ideas. The pavilion offers a fresh look at these different urban enterprises by placing them along two axes: one between the poles of research and action, the other between bottom-up and top-down initiatives. We aim to assemble and synchronize the diverse activities into an urban layer which can then be “placed on the map” and serve as a tool for planners and policy makers. Allowing the lay of the land means producing a varied and high-quality public sphere, vibrant with human activity. This will drive future planning to take into account buildings as well as the people inhabiting them – creating an urban environment with a human face.