In Israel, Cubism of a Different Sort
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.