Ajami Water Tower | Preservation and reuse

Typology Conservation and reuse

location. Jaffa Israel

Area 250 sqm

 

In collaboration with architect Roy Fabian

Musical event in the spaces of the Water Tower - Studio "HaZimmer"

 

The Ajami water tower is located in the heart of the residential neighborhood at the highest elevation point in the place. Its presence in the neighborhood is tangible in four significant aspects, on the basis of which future use of the tower can be developed.

  • First, the tower has a physical presence. It is high, 31 meters from the level of the surrounding square, and is mostly opaque, built of concrete pillars between which is a concrete fillet dotted with peepholes in the perimeter. Although recently renovated the tower stands desolate, and therefore its physical presence is a conspicuous monolithic failure in the urban fabric, lacking function or use and opaque. These physical characteristics together with its proximity to low-rise dwellings and its visibility in the heart of the neighborhood give it an alienated presence to its surroundings, alienated and very tangible.

  • Second, the tower has a purposeful presence. Its original function was to store water and supply it to the residents of the neighborhood, for which purpose a water tower was built.

  • Second, the tower has a historic presence. The lack of archival documentation of the history of its construction and function over the years, leaves the historical presence of the tower deficient. We are forced to infer from its past from the estimated date it was established, the events that took place in close proximity to it and of course its external shape and location in space. We have failed to awaken the collective memory and reveal the historical presence of the tower from quality sources (residents' stories), but apart from personal anecdotes, this lack indicates a lack of historical presence, which reinforces its being an opaque monolith.

  • Third, the tower has a cultural-social presence. Towers for human societies serve as a unifying object that calls into the distance, such as church bell towers, minarets, clock towers, and so on. Get to know the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality with the potential of the tower's presence to local society and culture, so they paved a square around it, and even installed a slide, but the place remained deserted.

 

We seek to convert this barren symbol from a purposeless monolith to a cultural monument that conveys identity and pride to the surrounding neighborhood. Our intervention in the functioning of the water tower is intended to enable long-distance communication in a non-threatening manner, in stark contrast to the way the neighborhood's new residents are perceived, living in the heart of a community with housing shortages, extreme income disparities, and severe alienation from the Jewish public establishment. Our proposal seeks to make the water tower a center of culture and art, one of a network of interconnected water towers. The tower plaza, located within a sequence of public gardens leading up to the seafront slope garden, will serve as a listening space for the community under the guidance of artists who will work at the site. The base of the tower and the Galilean body in its center will be used as exhibition spaces and workshop and hospitality activities. The balcony of the tower and the lower half of the tank at the top will be used for a show and display, as well as for entertaining and viewing the view. The upper half of the container will serve as a work space for artists, where artistic activity is promoted just before it migrates to the levels below it. This space is illuminated by an oculus that opens on the roof towards the sky. Imagine an axis from the heart of the earth to the heights of the sky, this axis symbolizes the artistic message that begins in the listening space in the square, where the community and artists gather for an open artistic experience. Inside the tower, the artistic message is sharpened to the space of the show at the bottom of the water tank. Above it is the space of the artists' artistic endeavors, and these overlook a sublime concept of art. This axis interacts with the community, which is invited to activities from the level of the square to the level of the space of the show. Sounds rhetorical? Maybe a little, but we made an attempt at the place, gathered a few friends from the B&B studio and played in the square and the tower. Neighbors passed by and said nothing just watched, the suspicion is greater than the matter. We offer action to convert the water tower from monolith to monument.