Montifiori Master Plan, Tel Aviv
Urban context – An island in the heart of the Central Business District
In the heart of the Central Business District of Tel Aviv located Montefiori neighborhood as an island whose boundaries defined by the main traffic arteries from all sides. This island creates an urban area that holds relatively extensive space between Begin route and Ayalon highway and displays a diverse and exceptional urban in the central business district context (one-dimensional).
Montefiori neighborhood is the only urban segment located in the developing Central Business District along the Ayalon highway that embodies multilayered developed urban fabric together with a relatively new construction that will not vacant its area to another in the near future.
Montefiori neighborhood preserved the urban grid and the historic parcelization throughout all its years of existence. It has created multilayered and varied land uses that reflect the changes in its position throughout the years with regard to the general urban development: starting as a remote residential neighborhood slowly penetrated by a small industry, handicrafts and garages looking for a place at the "city margins", followed by the development of peripheral businesses– printing house, car agencies, engineering and planning offices, business schools, private colleges, and eventually the CBD developments – designated office buildings, clubs, gambling and escort agencies. Throughout the period of its existence the neighborhood was populated; most of the veteran residents remain in the neighborhood from their own will or lack of other alternatives and the others were youngsters or foreign workers who joined the neighborhood.
There are indications of a significant and substantial urban revival that are being expressed mainly by the initiative to put up new housing projects, the conversion of the office buildings into housing within the boundaries of the historical neighborhood, and the penetration of housing and studios for workshops and art in its southern parts (the polishing workshop construct).
Its proximity to the main transportation arteries of the Tel Aviv metropolitan creates in it nowadays a reasonable scope of transportation services compared to the lower scope of private vehicles services due to the small number of entrances leading into the neighborhood what eventually harms the development of land usage within the neighborhood.
From a general urban aspect, Montefiori neighborhood today assumed to be "a pocket hidden from the eye". The urban intensive activities developed around penetrated the neighborhood at a very modest scale, and the neighborhood is placed at a very low level of the urban awareness' scale.
The Ayalon "façade" is taken to be "the back yard" of the neighborhood, excluding the use of few buildings as a basis for an aggressive commercial signposting. The intensive urban view experienced throughout the Ayalon highway comes into its utmost expression at the Azrieli center - which became the identifying mark of Tel-Aviv – actually skips the Montefiori neighborhood.
Neighborhood and CBD
A neighborhood and a central business district that is usually characterized by a sterilized program (unified and unvaried) is perceived by many as a presser that rolls around to wide areas in the city and "presses" the unique local characteristic (Local specific) to a single alienated area. This type of process raises a strong objection amongst the many residents and is often called "corporative urbanism" where the uniqueness of different areas is being crushed together with the public rights (ownership, accessibility) and sentiments (identity and memory) for the benefit of the influential wealthy cooperatives that acquire more and more pieces of property throughout the city for their own purposes.
This type of areas are characterized by the variety of problems we all know very well and from different districts in the cities of Tel Aviv, Ramat-Gan, Haifa and other cities in the world such as London, Paris, Dallas etc where the vernacular fabric of the city had completely wiped out and replaced with new fabrics made of glass and stones, particularly active during the days and completely desolated at night.
Therefore, the question facing the site plan is the characterization of the encounter between the two different urban fabrics, such as the privileged CBD fabric and the vernacular one that is lower and varied existing in the neighborhood.
The potential embodied in the combination of the different urban fabrics and the different sized construction volume, alongside its time realizations limitations of the different properties, creates a wide range of urban and architectural opportunities that are affluent and diversified.