kibbutz & archipelagos

When estate-subsidized housing, urban sprawl and formal public space fail to provide an adequate civic life, can citizens develop their own models? Israel Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2010 deepens in historical Kibbutz settlements from mid 20th century, a model to be updated.

The Kibbutz mode of settlement, which entails a way of life voluntarily rooted in equality, mutual support, and sharing, presents an inherently unique architectural challenge, encompassing economic egalitarism, collective ownership, and all-inclusive education and health services. […] Reformist and utopian plans promoting such social ideals had remained mostly on paper. The vision of the Kibbutz, however, was translated and realized through spatial organization, incorporating contemporary experiences and processes of change. […] Egalitarianism and equality thus materialize in planning through a sharing of space and a communalization of functions of production and consumption, agriculture, industry, culture, education, health, etc. In effect, the Kibbutz is one space, undivided by differential tenure, free of private parcels and fences, host to all of life’s multiple dimensions, and owned cooperatively by Kibbutz members. Open public common space is the main arena of kibbutz life (a large central lawn with the public facitlities, the dining hall, and the culture house situated around it like a forum or agora).

The last 3 years have seen a marded return of population to the Kibbutz, a rethinking of its architectural values, and a reenvisioning of models of solidarity, mutual assistance, and assurance.

This wonderful exhibition proclaims: “Architecture as an active partner in the shaping of a society and in contributing to the quality of human relationships within it.”

However, this utopian humanism and good intentions terribly contrast with the current Mare Magnum that Léopold Lambert describes in the isolation still existing in his Palestinian Archipielago model. I wish the Kibbutz spirit could spread out a little bit in the area.

[image1>dining hall floor-washing machine – unidentified kibbutz 1960s] [image2>general diagrammatic plan for a kibbutz for 250 families by samuel bickels 1940s] [image3> dinning hall at kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek 1953] [images1-3> from the Israel Pavilion brochure] [image4> Palestinian Archipielago by Julien Bousac via boiteaoutils]


  1. Pablo

    The work of archipieligaghi and enclave has developed further investigations on this matter, realized by A.Petti. I recomend to read this book edited by Mondadory which develops the work made by Petti with Multiplicity group, during the Venice biennale some years ago. The achipielago has a lot to do with the control by Israel of the different roadways and the sadly famous wall. This work also have his parallel situation around the globe as Petti tells on his book, dubai, indian reservations, etc… being a contemporary urban situation.

  2. daniel

    thanks, pablo!

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