Holon is a city on the central coastal strip of Israel just south of Tel Aviv. It is a rapidly growing city with a population of over 200,000 people. It is home to numerous educational and cultural institutions as well as to the second largest industrial area in Israel.
Our master plan and design for the Holon town square put forward an assemblage of objects: the Town Hall; residential, commercial and administrative buildings; a music center; and an auditorium. The town square is located on a prominent city site in front of two major roads with heavy traffic. We proposed inserting a circular piazza within an orthogonal frame, defined by the streets around.
This circular configuration sets up an order for the surrounding buildings, through a radial geometry that both connects and differentiates the pieces. We created a new topography on the site through the sloping roof of the auditorium which descends towards the center of the public circle, forming a quasi-amphitheater. Its roof is green, terraced and shaded, inviting visitors to use it as a public park.
Pedestrians can also circulate at the upper level via a bridge that leads to the residential neighborhoods on the northern edge and extends towards the municipality building on the southern side. The bridge dissolves into a public balcony at the Town Hall and ends in a ceremonial staircase that descends to the ground level.
Against the calm background of the surrounding buildings, the Town Hall rises twenty stories and projects into the new urban public space. It hovers above grade and provides shade to the public foyer. Its glass façade acts as a continuous curtain wall that takes advantage of its northern exposure to bring in diffused light all day long.
The piazza is a public room open to the sky. It is accessible from all sides though its largest and most formal gate faces the busy urban intersection. From this entry, an elongated perspective travels through the entire piazza, terminating in the public foyer of the Town Hall. As a result, the piazza is both static and dynamic. It provides an entrance to all the different civic facilities and acts as a thruway to the city beyond. As a counterbalance to the chaos of the city, the piazza functions as an anchor - protected by its own envelope - which provides a formal and human scale simultaneously.