City Museum, Tel Aviv
Bialik Square, Tel aviv
2006-2009
The first city hall of Tel Aviv 1926-1965

Original architect: Moshe Cherner
Client: The Tel Aviv Foundation & Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality
Area: 1,600 sqm
Interior Design in collaboration with Dan Hasson
Project team: Yonathan Cohen, Carmit Harnik Saar, Ariel Noyman
Project management: Am-Gar Project Management Ltd.
Structural Engineer: Rotbart - Nissim Structural Eng. Ltd.

The City museum of Tel Aviv, locally named Beit Ha'ir, was opened to the public in December 2009 in honor of the city's centennial.
The building housed the city hall between the years 1926-1965 and then the city museum until 2001.

The aim of the project was to restore the historical building that was the first civic center of the city. Together with Bialik Square, the building functioned as an urban focal point for ceremonies, celebrations, demonstrations and parades. The Front Façade occasionally served as balcony for performances and historical events. The aim was not only to restore the historical appearance of the building but mainly to give it another cycle of life and to enable it to function as an active and relevant civic center.

The urban intention was to create sequential connection between the interior and exterior spaces of the building, including an accessible passage from Bialik Street and Bialik Square to the enclosed back garden facing Zalman Shneor Street, and a visual connection through the ground floor between the stairs alley, the information space and the back garden. Thus, the building that beforehand played as a façade décor to the square today turns to connecting object between the streets and spaces that surround it.

The architectural intention was to meticulously restore the historical envelope of the building together with the creation of a new urban volume scaled to a typical Tel Aviv street but designed as a monolithic body with an iconic updated presence. Four angular openings in the new envelope frame typical glances of Tel Aviv and create a unique relationship between the city itself and its' representations exhibited in the interior galleries.

The interior design of the historical building was based on periodic characteristics and on restoration of the main architectural elements like the oval staircase and Mayor Meir Dizengoff's chambers (restoration by Dr. Doron Luria). The central space floor was paved with 50 different types of periodic tiles that were brought from all over town and constitute a colorful archive of Tel Aviv floors.

The central space of the museum is in fact an atrium encircled by galleries functioning as exhibition spaces and as balconies for events. The galleries overlook an open auditorium, a screening space and information stands about Tel Aviv. This space is intended to perform an urban stage and as a place for urban and civil discussions.