Back to the future, Dizengoff Circle street level publicity.
Dizengoff Circle is an iconic public plaza in Tel Aviv’s historic center, originally designed by Arch Genia Averbuch and inaugurated in 1938 as part of the city’s canonical urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes.
Forming a roundabout at the meeting of six streets the plaza comprised a circular garden, with shaded seating areas and a round fountain at its center.
In the 1970’s, under pressure from traffic engineers, the original plaza was redeveloped as a split level elevated pedestrian plaza, with through traffic passing underneath, designed by Architect Tsvi Lissar. Effectively serving as an overpass, the plaza lost its vitality, that even the addition of the “Fire and Water” kinetic sculpture by Agam could not revive. Over time, the disjointed plaza and the surrounding buildings deteriorated.
After many years of public debate, Moria Architects was commissioned to restore the plaza. Our main role was to “recover” the urban space, by regrounding the plaza and re-establishing integral relations between the void, the buildings, pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic.
We designed the circular plaza to strengthen its radial structure referencing Averbuch’s original design. The external ring offered back an expanded sidewalk enabling spill out of new activities on the ground floor of the circular facades fronting the plaza.
The central ring is given over to vehicular traffic, managing both private and public transport around the circumference and the addition of a new bike route.
The inner circle is divided into eight segments, with elevated grass inserts facing each of the radial streets, to restrict pedestrian crossings, while affording seating areas on the circles tangents radiating outwards.
Returning the plaza to street level was the central urban act. The ensuing design decisions reflect the preferences of a multitude of municipal stakeholders, coming together.
Since its reopening, a renewed energy has been unleashed in the plaza and the surrounding cafes and eateries expressing a strengthened urban trust. At twilight, the golden sheen of sunset is captured in the plaza, beaming a city light across it.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, Ahuzat HaHof, Tel-Aviv-Jaffa Economic Corporation
7,850 sqm, 16,700 sqm including nearby streets
Zvi Lisher Archives
Collection of Israel Architecture Archive