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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rosh Ha'ayin Network of British Buildings

It seems that the majority of our posts deal with broad ruin issues. Some deal with Rosh Ha'ayin. But not that many deal with the combination of the two, which is actually what our project is all about. So here is a post about our project and how it is proceeding. I think there will probably be a few posts in this series of updates, including one about our current theories.

At the end of last semester, we had decided that we wanted to create additional branches of the Yemenite museum in Rosh Ha'ayin, located in various British buildings throughout the city. We talked about connecting these as part of a path, and assigned which functions would take place in each building. However, we neither justified the path well, nor did we come up with a good explanation for why each function was placed in each building. Finally, we did not convincingly explain why it was okay, according to our ruin theories, to redevelop some of the buildings and pass them off as "ruins." There was a big contradiction between the theory of ruin preservation and what we actually planned to do with some of the buildings.

Since then, we have been working to tighten our ideas and make the project stronger, hopefully solving these problems. Firstly, we decided that the idea of a path is not relevant. While we continue to think that the program of various other cultural centers / museum wings in the city is strong, we looked for different ways to model how they are interconnected. In addition, we wanted to strengthen the way that we assigned various functions to each building.

Most importantly, we recognize that not all the buildings are fitting to be left to decay. Some of the buildings have importance and deserve conventional preservation. We needed a way to rank the buildings and decide which should be preserved regularly, which could be partially left as ruins, and which buildings could be left as ruins entirely, with programming taking place around the perimeter. (More will follow about this final option.)

Continuing our past investigations, we have identified about 20 buildings originally built as part of the Ras el Ain base that are now part of Rosh Haayin. Some of these buildings are significant part of the city's history, while others have not. Some are in good shape or have been renovated, while others are falling apart. We settled on 4 main criteria for ranking these buildings and deciding which should be preserved whole, and which should be preserved ruined. The criteria were:
1) Uses - how important were/are these buildings in the history of Rosh Ha'ayin? Are they part of the city's culture? Were they public buildings? Do people think of them with nostalgia?
2) % Remaining - In what shape is the building? Is it whole, or mostly destroyed?
3) Vegetation - How much vegetation has invaded the buildings?
4) Location - How close is the building to the main museum? Is it on a main street? Is it surrounded by open area or tightly hemmed in?

Using these criteria, we ranked the buildings and made a list of three types of buildings:
A. Buildings that ranked high on uses, % remaining, had little vegetation and were located in the thick of the city were slated for conventional preservation. These buildings include the cinema, the central museum, one of the schools, and a few others.
B. Buildings that ranked medium were open for half-and-half treatment. Partial redevelopment, partial ruination.
C. Buildings that ranked low - that didn't serve important functions, are in poor to terrible shape, have been invaded by vegetation and are located in open fields or at a great distance were slated for ruin preservation.
Armed with this information, the next step was to map the various ruins and try to develop a new paradigm to replace the trail idea. Each map shows a different way at understanding how the various buildings relate to one another. 1. Trail; 2. Central Museum with radiating spokes; 3. Series of active spaces around each individual location; 4. Interconnection of each of the three types of buildings into independent networks that connect at the central museum; 5. three "perimeter zones" within which various activities take place; 6. One large ring path that encompasses all the various sites.

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