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Narrative-Myth and Urban Design Author(s): Iris Aravot Source: Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), Vol. 49, No.

2 (Nov., 1995), pp. 79-91 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1425399 . Accessed: 29/06/2011 05:58
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andUrbanDesign Narrative-Myth

TechnionI.I. T., Haifa, Israel IRIsARAVOT,

Basedon the Cassirerean theorythatcomprehension in its fullestsense resultsfroma varietyof this articlediscussesthe modesof interpretation, in urban absence of mythical design. approaches of "narItproposesa schemeforthe construction a conceptcombining conventional rative-myths," studieswithsubjectsdisrespheresof urban Thearticle procedures. gardedby professional in the withnarrative-myth presentsan experiment wherein contextof TelAviv, fourteen texts producedby graduate studentsrevealtendenciesof andtransitoriness. their Though impermanence are a matterof creativeinpractical implications suchtendenciesare indispensable terpretation, forthe understanding of the localurban culture.


1. Theimageof the self andthe critical imageinthe mirror. Caricature exhibition at the by Dosh.(ToLivewiththe Dream, TelAviv BatiaDonner. curator: [TelAviv: Museum, Dvir, 19891, p. 222.)

Journal ofArchitectural Education, pp. 79-91 ? 1995 ACSA, Inc.

different approach to urban design, to be referred to as narrative-myth. Its main purpose is the comprehension of the urban environment prior to phases of actual intervention. The concept was triggered by a feeling frequently expressed by students and young professionals-namely, that conventional analysis and problem-solving methods result in fragmentation, stratification, and disintegration of the authentic experience of a city. Although it is commonly accepted that conventional analysis has its advantages in terms of quantity, objectivity, and systematization, something of the liveliness of the city as a singular entity is lost. Substitution of phenomenal reality for scientific (or pseudoscientific) representations never explains how the sum total of a city is greater than its components. Urban theories closely related to this position tend to see each city in its own terms, against the background of its singular multifaceted history.' However, although revealing the complex singularity of the past seems to be a regular practice among urban historians, we are less clear about how to grasp the immediate past or the uniqueness of here and now. For example, although the mutual dependence of city form, ideology of power, and philosophical theories is acceptable in regard to the seventeenth century, contemporary political events seem to be relegated to the sidelines by current acts of urban design.2 Many aspects of local culture, the hopes, beliefs, and general atmosphere of life, are hardly considered relevant to professional considerations (Figure 1). Even the concentrated expression of these aspects in film, advertisement, or poetry, for example, are not part of conventional background studies for urban design. All urban environment is studied in similar, professionally conventionalized themes and terms. We expect
79 Aravot

maps and figures to express the differences. But maps and figures are alreadynormalized and only partial representations of urban reality. They fail to grasp the actual authenticity of the urban place. It might be said that they fail to come to terms with the genius loci of the city.

Mythsand Urban Design3

Genius loci is a mythical term. In Latin, it refers to both the guardian spirit of a place and to the special atmosphere of that particular place: "Ancient man experienced his environment as consisting of definite characters. In particular he recognized that it is of great existential importance to come to terms with the genius of the locality where his life takes place.... Survival depended on a 'good' relationship to the place in a physical as well as a psychic sense."4 The special attitude of the mythical human to place and to the world in general is termed by the philosopher Ernst Cassirer "the mythical symbolic form." According to Cassirer,all human culture is the product of five distinctive "symbolic forms"-that is, modes in which human beings impose order, constancy, and meaning on the ever-changing phenomena of the world.5 These are myth and religion, art, language, history, and science, all of which are equally valid. Each symbolic form has its own unique perspective that cannot be reduced to any other. Renunciation of any symbolic form is virtually an impoverishment of human ability. The feature central to mythical intentionality is characterized by Cassirer as the "sympathy of the whole." "We are in the habit," Cassirer says, "of dividing our life into the two spheres of the practical and the theoretical.... We are prone to forget that there is a lower stratum beneath both of them. Primitive man is not liable to such

forgetfulness. .... His view . . . is neither nor merelypractical merelytheoretical .... It is sympathetic."' Thus the mythicalperspective does not aspire to objectivity or neutralitybut sees the world as saturated with emotional qualities. This does not fromexperience, andthere override learning is no hint of negation of rationalityor of belief in the absurd:"Mythand primitive religion are by no means entirelyincoherent, they are not bereftof sense or reason. But their coherence depends much more upon unity of feeling." Most important, "evenin the life of civilizedman [myth]has by no meanslost its originalpower."7 The academicor professionalsearch for affinitybetweenarchitecture (I referto urban design as part of architecture)and otherrealms tendsto excludemyth,perhaps is perbecause"mythas a sacrednarrative" ceivedas too embarrassingly indistinguishable from legends and fairy tales, and mythopoeia-deliberate and conscious a myth making-is seen as too threatening one of the retreatto the antirational.8 Still, of architecture (and probablyof paradoxes all creativeactivities)is preciselythat rational investigationrevealsits mythicalbases, artieitheras meaningsof the architectural disfact or as componentsof architectural and approaches. positions,intentionalities, This is due to the dependenceof architecturalcontentand attitudeon interpretation and implementationof values, indispensact itself, but rationally ablefor the creative rooted only partiallyand unjustifiablebeyond a certainlimit.' Hence two inquiriesensue: 1. An empiricalinquiry that should the essential reand analyze display,classify, and mythology lationships between myth in varioustimesand places. and architecture It should revealmythicaland mythological as contents,both directiveand explanatory,

well as mythical functions concerning the ar- Odysseus" influenced by Homer, "Sibyl's chitecturalartifactand architecturaltheory."1 Cave and the Infernal Regions" afterVirgil's 2. A speculative inquiry about the use Aeneid, and so on.12 of mythical capacities during the creative The best-known example of this catis process. egory probably the Danteum by Giuseppe Terragni.13This unbuilt project, based on This essay acknowledges the impor- Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, was intance of empirical inquiry both in itself and spired, structured, and directed by Dante's as a rationale for speculative inquiry. How- account of his journey through hell, purgaever, the intention of the experiment de- tory, and paradise. Terragni himself left scribed in this essay is not so much to notes of his conceptions in Relazione sul emulate precedents as to explore the mythi- Danteum (Report on the Danteum). He was cal capabilities of urban designers. It seeks to initially inclined to personify architectural open up possibilities, rather than to discuss elements but ultimately based the relationwhat is extant. These possibilities belong to ship of the Danteum to the Divine Comedy the sphere of architectural narrativeand are on mathematical correspondence. He transto be employed as endeavors, approaches, or ferred the numerical divisions of the poetry to geometric elements and organization in channels to creativity in architecture. space. We can compare Terragni's interpretation of this text with that of Stanley Narrative and Urban Design Tigerman. Tigerman's Bathing Pavilion Project as Homage to Dante's Inferno with and architectural (1980) is a purely metaphoric visualization Design approaches urban narrative content have already been as permitted by a large bathroom.14 In the second approach, "free narrawidely acknowledged and legitimized in are not based on existing texts in littives" theories." postmodernist Prevailing apon or literaerature and poetry, but are the outcome of concentrate (1) poetry proaches the talent of the designer, who is both the ture or (2) "free narration." The aim of the first approach is to use creator of the narrative and its interpreter. poetry and literature as sources for meta- Sources for characters (components) or phors, analogies, symbols, and signs for ar- plots (relationships) depend only on the chitectural or urban components or architect's personal preferences, history, excompositions. The passages from narration perience, and so on. Narratives need not to design may be literal or interpretative in precede architectural design, either logivarying degrees, but in all cases the cally or temporally. On the contrary, nararchitect's contribution is neither more nor rative and design grow dialectically. less than reading and formal interpretation. Support and the supported or direction This approach is legitimized essentially by and the directed may exchange places, and the common denominator of architecture in principle, their themes unfold freely as the work develops. and other forms of art. An example of this approach is For example, C. Anthony Antoniades, an educator, examines the power of various Lebeus Woods's narrative of an all-embracliterary forms as vehicles for the stimulation ing cyclical cosmology wherein Humanity of work and as themes of architectural de- and Culture are in perpetual movement besign. His students produce a "Palace of tween four cities or existential conditions:
November 1995 JAE49/2 80

the City of Earth(dawn,birth,spring,intuition, socialistic), the City of Fire (noon, youth, summer,ascent,heroicbalance,poetry, aristocratic), the City of Air (dusk, maturity,autumn, artificial,abstract,individual, capitalistic),and the City of Water (midnight,old age, winter, descent,prose, bureaucratic). 15 in A typicalexampleof freenarration architectural educationis presented by Clive Knights,whose studentshad to inventvarious narrativesof two lovers, a maker of prosthetics and a maker of jewels, or a makerof violins and a makerof jewels, for whom they designeddwellings.16 The presentapproachis designedto explorethe issuesand scaleof urbandesign ratherthan those of a building. It differs in that fromthe foregoingtypesof narrative of the it introducesa twofold requirement for contextand architect:(1) responsibility to some incontent and (2) subordination ternal structurallogic. The architect becomes the storyteller instead of merely a reader. At the same time, however, the architect'sinvestigationand definition of relevant spheres of life are required as sources for themes and characters(as opposed to personalor randomsources). is The plot for such a narrative-myth based on the revelationof parallelsin the variousspheresof life in the city underconor relationsideration:parallel"characters manifested at as specific intervalsin ships time or when undergoingmetamorphosis. The plot must evolve and presenta course or tendency that will channel design or Of course,parallels, planninginterventions. and tendencies dependon plots, directions, as the fromnardoes transfer interpretation, to rative-myth specificdesign. Thus the specific story of here and now and the genius loci form the basis of the presentapproach. They arethe counterpartsof everynarrative-myth.

A PrioriandA Posteriori Urban Narrative-Myths

Likea greatworkof art,a city at its best has its unique integrity,its specificnature,and its particular theseaslogic. When revealed, of the pects constitute the narrative-myth city, as dependenton social, physical,ecoas on variables nomic, and other"objective" ones. interpretative/subjective "DeliriousNew York"is an extreme and successful example of such an enThe narrative-myth of Manhattan deavor.'7 is initiatedfrom the recognitionof an unprecedentedculturalcondition that developed at the end of the nineteenthcentury, first in Coney Islandand then in Manhattan-namely, congestion of people, systems, and technology.This condition gave riseto threegeneral thathavespeprinciples cial architecturaland urban implications: (1) technology as a superiorsubstitutefor nature, (2) continuous multiplicationand rearrangement of functions and places within the three-dimensional repetitive pattern permitted by the skyscraper, and (3) imposition of metaphoricmodels offering "islands" of emotionalshelter.Manhattan, the bravenew metropolis,with the Downtown Athletic Club and Radio City Music Hall as prototypesof the three principles, flourisheduntil the forties, when it failed due to a profoundlack of nerve.However, as soon as Manhattanism, both as need and is potential, recognizedagain,it may be revived and reused,as many conceptualand practicalprojects of the Office of Metrohavebeen. politanArchitecture This may be consideredan a poste"a posteriori" riori urban narrative-myth: narrative becausethe explanatory/directive both and appears, chronologically, logically afterthe creationof the city itself,and "naraswith the mythscrebecause, rative-myth" a motivated atedin antiquity,it interweaves
81 Aravot

set of valueswith an imaginative/conceptual orderimposedon established factsand processes. Like the myths of the ancient peoples, it does not contradictexperience and commonsense(or contemporary scientific knowledge), but it imposes meaning specificallyon what is still inexplicable. Thereis, however, anothertypeof urban narrative-myth,which, though it resemblesthe previous one in function,differs in originandpotential. This secverygreatly ond typemaybe calledan a prioriurbannarbecause it is basedon an exalted rative-myth anypractiideological conceptthatprecedes cal confrontation with actualsituations. Cities of extended organic development providefertilesoil for a posterioriurban myths because their urban fabric is stratified and saturatedwith detail, fragof earlier timesand events. ments,and traces Similar interpretation of newly planned towns is more difficult, however, because sterileand bare they areobviouslyrelatively and aredependenton explicitideologies.

Tel Aviv, Israel'sbiggest city-sometimes referred to as "the only Israeli city"-is from the abovea priori/a quite remarkable of posteriori point view. Despite being a new town (foundedin 1909), it providesa wealth of sources for personal urban mythology, and despite its beginningand developmentin a highly ideologicalmilieu, it has little ideologicalbasis.18 The Zionist creed has preventedthe establishmentof an Israeliurbanideology and hencethe creation of an inclusiveIsraeli urbannarrative-myth. Althoughnineteenthlike Theodor Herzl's century utopias outlined urban AltNeuland visions,they remainedin the realmof literature.19 Afterthe firstworldwar, and with the riseof a local,

TOWNagriculturally oriented socialism, such utoTHIJ[WIIH

pias were relegated to the margins of the Zionist creed. Urbanism was looked on as a hindrance to the creation of a new and healthy society free from the restrictions and deficiencies of the Diaspora (Figures 2 to 4). Against this background, Tel Aviv was a very unusual phenomenon. Its growth from Ahuzat Bayit, the European neighborhood of Jaffa, to the largest city in Israel arose from sheer necessity rather than from ideological preferences (Figure 5). Thus Tel Aviv originally had no relation to a recommended model or to a general urban myth. Today, eighty-six years after its foundation, an existential understanding of the city, of its nature and being, apart from fragmentary statistics and documented events, encourages the production of a posteriori narrative-myths. While working with two groups of students in 1989 and 1991, I proposed adopting this position as a starting point for overall interpretations of Tel Aviv. Several teams were encouraged to put forward a posteriori narrative-mythsfor the city to reveal systems of specific laws that explain and link existing phenomena. The students were free to draw on any fields of knowledge, from prehistory to politics, from the arts to philosophy. The only requirement was to examine the wealth of Tel Aviv phenomena as far as possible and to link the objects or events selected by means of some particularlaw or formula. The working method was empirical and deductive in accordance with the following scheme: 1. Background studies for the planning of Tel Aviv according to conventional spheres of urban studies (that is, demographic aspects, land use, densities, statutory data, economic data, etc.) and one additional aspect (politics, ideologies, media-including television and newspapers-light music,



a youngenergeticcityof 3. The 1932 imageof TelAviv: foundation Posterforthe firstpage of Keren workers. Hayesod at the TelAviv booklet.(ToLivewiththe Dream, exhibition curator: BatiaDonner. [TelAviv: Museum, Dvir,1989], p. 26.)

9 IE
2. TheZionist withhis girlandas a lonely (halutz) pioneer figure 1938. (ToLive inthe city.Woodengravings by P.K.Hoenich, withthe Dream, exhibition at the TelAviv curator: Museum, BatiaDonner. [TelAviv: Dvir,1989], p. 76.)

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for cigarettesinspired 4. Anadvertisement by Sovietimagesof socialistyouth.Thebackground presentsa progressive was lookedon agricultural setting.Eveninthe fifties,urbanism of a newandhealthy to the creation as a hindrance society.(To curator: exhibition at the TelAviv Live withthe Dream, Museum, BatiaDonner. [TelAviv: Dvir, 1989], p. 42.)

November 1995 JAE49/2


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5. Speculations on future changes deriving from the examination and correlations, was expected. 6. Stages 3 to 5 could include an analogous model. Thus the narrative-myths of Tel Aviv had to be interpretations of the reality, not opposed to facts but through the discovery of a specific order in the ever-changing flux of the metropolis. As in "Delirious New York," the participants were not restrainedby paradigmatic distinctions between the relevant and the irrelevant, nor were they biased by professional consensus about the good, the true, and the worthy. They were required to extract Tel Aviv's unique narrative.The narrative-myth had to be constructed logically, rather as a scientific generalization is based on empirical research. As with a scientific theory, the narrativehad to provide an explanation of the extant as well as a direction for the prospective.


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5. TelAviv from1909 to 1948. Itsgrowth fromAhuzat Bayit, the European of Jaffa,to the largestcityin Israel neighborhood arose from sheer necessityrather than fromideological TheDream Turned to a Metropolitan preferences. (llanShchori, [TelAviv: Avivim, 1990], p. 199.)

6. Thepoorecological condition of the Yarkon Stream. (Omri Yavin, TelAviv: A Legendary [Tel Aviv: Kineret, City 1989], p. 45.)

The Narrative-Myths
publicity, the arts-cinema, literature,painting, etc.-were suggested). For sources, the students could use professional and other texts, personal observation, documentation, and interviews. (Most of those involved had prior acquaintance with the city, as their hometown, a place of entertainment, or a study project.) 2. Choice of additional aspect of study was requested, and as much documentation as possible of Tel Aviv phenomena according to this selection. 3. Students were required to examine all phenomena and to find a common denominator, trend, or "rule"which explains their existence. 4. A correlation between the examination and the conventional aspects of broader urban phenomena was sought. Twenty-nine students produced fourteen myths of Tel Aviv. Of these, seven were created against the background of the climax of the Intifada (the Palestinian uprising). The rest were written immediately after the Persian Gulf War. The narrative "The Secular Town which Suffocated the Sand" by I. Sobel reviews the modifications of the Tel Aviv image, which evolved from the naive, popular approach into media and political images, culminating in the "City which never stops" (the slogan of the last municipal elections). During the metamorphosis, an image of "Tel Avivness" was constantly cultivated, exalting the transient and artificial over the natural and historic (Figure 6). Earlier images and values were rejected as nostalgic
83 Aravot

(Figure 7) and were replaced by a variety of "in"celebrations, from restaurantsand pubs to art and literature (Figure 8). Tolerance beside lack of persistence, easy acceptance, and easy desertion, existence within a maze of changing concepts and realizations (Figure 9)-all these are the foci of the myth "Kaleidoscope" by S. BenShem. This is hardly surprising, for Tel Aviv is a city of polyglot immigrants and provincial Israelis, each with his or her own ideas and reasons for becoming part of the kaleidoscope of possibilities. (One of the most popular images here is Tel Aviv/New York, Figure 10.) The narrative "Between Destiny and Fate" by R. Gerd and E. Zilberman reveals lifelike cycles rooted in the dualism Tel (denoting the past, archaeology, death) and


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7. A "revolving of Agam's1970s cake,"a caricature wedding addition to Tzina whichhadbeen a symbol Square, (Dizenggof) inthe forties.(Omri of TelAviv TelAviv: A Legendary Yavin, City [TelAviv: Kineret, 1989], p. 39.)

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Fair 9. Idealization of the conceptof the levant.Levant poster, 1932.

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10. 1965 electionsposter.showing (To inspiration. Hollywood curator: Livewiththe Dream, exhibition at the TelAviv Museum, BatiaDonner. [TelAviv: Dvir,1989], p. 202.) 8. Avariety of "in" fromrestaurants andpubsto celebrations, artandliterature. Yirmiahu TelAviv: A Street.(Omri Yavin, Kineret, 1989], p. 25.) Legendary City[TelAviv:

Aviv (meaning "spring," that is, new by its ghosts, growth,budding).Threatened includingArabJaffa(Figure11), the city on the cliff abandonedby the foundersof Tel Aviv who set out to build the AhuzatBayit neighborhood(Figure12), the city is seeking life, potential,the future.Any phenomas agingor enon that might be interpreted as approaching"natural" death is quickly eliminated.Within each cycle, the process of searchingand hunting is accelerated and is discarded beintensifieduntil everything fore it matures.Things die before realization, maintainingan eternalpotential.The climaxof the process,identifiedas "birthof a dead embryo," returnsthe cycle to its beillustrationsare the ginning. Architectural Tel Aviv port, which only functionedfor a few months, and the new central bus station, which has neverbeen used at all.20 The threatof the Televokesthe ambivalentattitudesto the traditional Jewish legacy-?thatis, the secularcity versusreligious tradition, celebrationof the present versus the "hope of two thousand years," in our nationalanthem: which is expressed in other words, an ongoing condition of and searchfor fulfillment. impermanence Tel Aviv"by The myths "Searching A. Meiroz, "Dreams" M. by Levy (Figure 13), and "Longing"by H. Lusky and D. Azrieli(Figure14) reviewdreams, ideas,and ideals that flourishedin the city and were then abandoned.Seekingandsearching ocin educationand cur in artandarchitecture, ideology.Changingstylesand beliefsaim at as opposed the localIsraeli secular achieving to the Jewish and sacred-that is, the essence of "TelAvivness." Secular, place,plasare opposed to the ticity,and visualization that forbadethe creation biblicalimperative of gravenimagesand idols. Israeliarchitecall express ture,Israeli art,and Israelitheater a striving toward identity, to be located and the somewherebetweenthe traditional

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12. Thefoundation of Ahuzat BenShem,afterthe original Bayit.(Drawing by Sharon photoin Ilan TheDream Turned to a Metropolitan Shchori, [TelAviv: Avivim, 19901,p. 17.)


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15. Hydrophobia based on biblical texts is offeredas an forTelAviv's orientation explanation awayfromthe sea. (0. Halaf andY. Levy,"The of the Sea"narrative-myth.) Conquest

16. Recentprojects for the reclamation of the shoreat TelAviv are interpreted as a victory overthe primordial enemy.(0. Halaf andY. Levy,"The of the Sea"narrative-myth.) Conquest November 1995 JAE49/2 86

arousemoralaccountingin such diversearand politics. eas as architecture The politicalrealityof Israelhad little Tel because influenceon the myths,perhaps Avivis not wherepoliticaleventsandclashes and wheretheyarereduced occur,but rather subsumed to concept and polemic. However, one narrative--"Natural Separation" by H. Koby, D. Zehavi, and U. On-foof Fritz reminiscent cuseson a stratification in As a film kaleidoscope, Metropolis. Lang's are extremelyunall of the configurations stable.

17. Collage (S. Tsarfati representing ecologicalcatastrophe. "A BesiegedTown" andA. Rapoport, narrative-myth.)

modern and between the local and the universal. Two thousand years of longing for the city of Jerusalem vitiated the capacity to realize and left the founders totally unable to come to terms with constructing a city on the coast-the basic situation of Tel Aviv. This is the principal theme in "The Conquest of the Sea" by O. Halaf and Y. Levi. Ancient concepts of fear of the ocean and the tradition of the abstract are offered as explanations for Tel Aviv's orientation away from the sea (Figure 15). All of the main arteries run parallel to the coast, none actually leads to the sea. Recent projects for reclamation of the shore at Tel Aviv are interpreted as a conquest, as a victory over the primordial enemy (Figure 16). Degeneration, change, and constant seeking for the still unattained are closely examined in "A Besieged Town" by S. Tsarfati and A. Rapoport. The myth examines events in an apocalyptic era (Figure 17). Pessimistic conclusions about the tenuousness of the present situation are intended to

can with narrative-myths The experiments fromthreedifferentpointsof be considered view: (1) as a way to exploitmentalcapacities thatare,to a certainextent,neglectedas a resultof the currentdominationof scientific thought; (2) as a methodology for a more extensiveand profound understandand (3) as aping of urbanenvironments; to Tel Aviv. plied specifically Regarding the enhancement of the mental capacitiesof the urbandesigneror planner, the central question is why this it is shouldbe desirable. FollowingCassirer, of mythimy positionthat the renunciation cal capacity implies renunciation of a the world closer unique mode of rendering It is a perspective and more meaningful.21 that preservesthe physiognomicaspect of things as well as our emotionalresponseto them. No other human capacity,not even scientificapproaches, thatwhich establishes can offer substitutesor improvementsfor ourmythithe mythicalcapacity. Exploring cal capacitybinds us to life in its most immediateand vital manifestations.22 as a The proposalof narrative-myth methodology for urban studies also raises questions like these: What sort of under87 Aravot

standing is added by this approach? Why can't it be achieved through conventional modes of urban studies? How is this additional understanding incorporated into the urban planning or design process? This article suggests that even before formal-physicalinterpretation, the narrativemyth has a central hermeneutical task of clarifying the existential aspects of living in a particularcity at this particulartime (Figure 18). The understanding to be achieved a term used by thereby is similar to Verstehen, Max Weber and neo-Kantianphilosophersto denote understanding from within by means of empathy, intuition, and interpretation, as opposed to knowledge from without by means of observation and analysis. This understandingis neither achieved nor sought by conventional urban studies largely because urban studies aspire to scientific objectific; that is, they regardthe urban sphere as an object. Scientific objects are basically those that can be broken down into components and relationships, preferably quantifiable ones. Such analysis is exhaustive in that nothing remains hidden or veiled. The parts and the whole are completely open to detailed description that reveals correlation and causation. As opposed is continuous because the to this, Verstehen hermeneutic cycles are endless. Therefore, narrative myths are contributions to the of urban places even though there Verstehen is always room for further understanding and interpretation. With this general recognition of contextual values in urban design, a process is initiated that brings to mind paradigms and their predetermined and limited concerns.23 By creating the narrative-myth, it is hoped to broaden, implement, and ultimately legitimize new concerns as contextually relevant in urban design. Using a Cassirerean terminology, we would say that urban design should lean on all five symbolic forms,

on the Alenby 19. "Refugees Schlos, 1967. Bridge" by Ruth continues in political climate,lifeinTelAviv Despitedifferences exhibition at the its usualcelebration. (ToLivewiththe Dream, BatiaDonner. TelAviv curator: [TelAviv: Dvir,19891, Museum, p. 248.)

18. Ahuzat the firstTelAviv Guttman, neighborhood. Drawing bythe poet andartistNahum Bayit, circa 1920. Hisimagesof the "Little TelAviv" werefrequently used bythe studentsto contradict presentimages.

65 20. The"White architecture of the thirties. (For City" imagewas createdbythe Bauhaus-style Exhibition at the TelAviv Houseby Richard 1930-31) (WHITE CITY, Kaufman, example,Karoscal Museum Museum [TelAviv: Publication, 1984, 1986], p. 22.) 1995 JAE49/2 November 88

and narrative-myth can be regarded as the contribution of the symbolic form "myth." There is no single recommended way to incorporate narrative-myth into professional and practical activities. Rather, it is a method emphasizing negative and positive values of a specific urban society and its "ethno-logic"-the structure of reasoning of decision-making agents in that urban society.24There may be several systems that incorporate the values emphasized by a narrative-myth, just as there may be innumerable systems that incorporate social justice, equality, and other values. These may be evaluated, for example, according to their utility. This article, however, is not concerned with the evaluation of urban values and ways to incorporate them-neither in principle nor specifically for Tel Aviv. Hence, it is hardly relevant to look for predetermined means of putting narrative myths into practice. The narrative-mythsof Tel Aviv were created in 1989 and 1991. Despite the differences in political climate at these timesin 1989 during the "Intifada," life in Tel Aviv continued its usual celebration,whereas during the Gulf War, Tel Aviv for the first time became the target of long-range mis-

siles, which made this formerlysafe haven This is not to be confusedwith "communityarchitecsectorin the country- ture"and other movementsand strategiesthat aim at the most dangerous the of urbandesignusers.It goes withtherewas little noticeabledifferencein the out empowerment sayingthat everyinstanceof public participation themesof the myths (Figure19). For all of in urban design processeshas political significance. theirvariety,the notions of impermanence This article,however,refersto the exclusionof politiand transitoriness are nonethelessthe exis- cal events that otherwisefill in our everydaylife but tentialexperience thattheyhavein common. are not connected specifically to one urban design or its users. These arethe two basicvaluesthat formthe project3. The authorthanksProfessorBrian Goodey common denominator of the narrative- for referring her to the meaningof urbanmythin texts Tel Aviv by urbanfolkloristJanHaroldBrunvand.His concept mythscreatedin the experiments. to the urbansethasbeenerectedon sand,andas in an arche- is of the enduringfolktaletranslated with the ting in the United Statesand does not overlap of so it is with sand, typalmetaphor moving presentuse of the term mythin the context of urban the city. It is continuously changingaccord- design. See Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing to as rules, and TheirMeanings(Lonby the cre- Hitchhiker:UrbanLegends interpreted ing specific atorsof the narrative-myths. Whatshouldbe don: Picador,1983); and Jan Harold Brunvand,The done with suchvalues,is a differentissue. ChokingDobermanand Other "New"UrbanLegends (New Yorkand London:W. W. Norton & Company, To summarize, a narrative-myth providesglimpsesat the actuality of a city as in- 1984). 4. Christian Norberg-Schulz, Genius Loci terpretedby a specific person at a specific (New York:Rizzoli, 1980). time. The imaginary sum total of all narraAn Essay onMan (New York: 5. ErnstCassirer, Bantam, 1970). is the truest tive-myths probably description 6. Ibid., p. 90. of a city. However,becausethis sum total is 7. Ibid., p. 89. in constant it is beyondthegrasp fluctuation, 8. JeoffreyBroadbent,Design in Architecture of conventional methodsof learning, under- (Chichester,England:John Wiley & Sons, 1973). Artifacts and Their 9. I. Aravot,"Architectural standing,and designand planningprocesses JournalofArchitectural becauseconventional methodsare basedon LinearJustification," Planning and Research 8/1 (Winter 1991): 11-23. fixedness,order, constancy,generalization, 10. See, for example,IrisAravot,"Interpretaand everything for which "objectivity" tions of WritArchitectural Myth in Contemporary stands.As opposedto that, narrative-myths ing,"Journal ofArchitecturalPlanningand Research This, however,does not (forthcoming,1995). exploitsubjectivity. 11. For a wide rangeof examples,see C. Annecessarily lead to solipsism, but to an PoeticsofArchitecture:Theory Antoniades, thony of It is my conviction Verstehen. intersubjective (New York:Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990). Design that no troddenways to exploit narrative12. Ibid., pp. 107-119. myths can be offered;everyindividualcan 13. T. L. Schumacher, The Danteum (New and should find his or her own way toward York:PrincetonArchitectural Press, 1985). 14. Stanley Tigerman, Stanley Tigerman: of a city. authenticinterpretation

18. Forexample,The White City exhibitionat the Tel Aviv Museum (Figure 20), curator: Levin Michael. WHITE CITY Exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum. (Tel Aviv: Museum Publication, 1984, 1986). 19. TheodorHerzl,Alt-Neuland (1903). Hebrew translation: Sokolov Naum, "Tel-Aviv." (Vienna.) 20. The new central bus station, with its six floors of commercialfacilities,finally becameoperative in 1993, but economistsalready analyzeits failure as a shoppingcenter. 21. Cassirer,Essay on Man. 22. For example,when we experienceurban places as giving a sense of "hereness,""enclosing," etc. "dreadfulness," "friendliness," 23. A prominentexampleis the modernistapproach, as defined in the Athens Charter. See Le Corbusier,TheAthensCharter (Grossman,1973). 24. Eric Cohen and Ari E. Ben, "Hard Choices:A SociologicalPerspective on Value Incommensurability,"Human Studies 16 (Winter 1993): 267-97.

The followingarethreeabstracts of the students' narrative-myths of Tel Aviv. They were selected principally because of the relatively large number of phenomena they incorporate. The abstracts are presented through quotations from the students' original texts. (Translation from Hebrew by the author. Comments in square brackets are the author's.)
'A Besieged Town" by S. Tsarfati and A. Rapoport

1. LewisMumford, The Cityin History(London: Martin Seckerand Warburg, 1961); and Eiler RasmussenSteen, London: The Unique City (1934) (Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress, 1982). 2. Mumford, City in History,chaps. 12, 13.

Buildingsand Projects,1966-1989, ed. S. Mollman Underhill. (New York:Rizzoli, 1989). Conscious15. LebeusWoods, "Architecture, ness and the Mythos of Time,"A.A. Files7 (Summer 1984): 3-13. 16. Clive Knights,"In Defense of Metaphor," in Michael Linzey,ed. Writing,History, Architecture, New (Auckland, Myth:Proceeding of PaperConference Zealand:Universityof Auckland,1991), pp. 239-54. 17. Rem Koolhaas,DeliriousNew York (London: Thamesand Hudson, 1978).

Deriving alternative areas of study from the political situation in Israel during the last decade, the text "A Besieged Town" uses Beirut and Lebanon as an analogy. (Beirut, formerly known as the Monte Carlo of the Middle East, has become a focus of threat and destruction.) This work on Tel Aviv was written before the Gulf War-that is, when there was not a single collective memory of an armed strike against the city. The abstract



skips the list of political events (phenomena from the selected sphere of interest) and concentrates on the last phase of the work: the hypothesis (based on the phenomena) and predictions drawn from it. "The Siege" depicts an existential feeling at the time of writing (especially due to parallelswith Beirut in Lebanon) as well as being under siege due to a future concentration of a large proportion of Israelis in Tel Aviv after the Palestinian State is established. The prediction is based on a fictional diary of future events. Hypothesis: Tel Aviv reflects Israeli society in search of easy and temporary solutions, both local and provisional, as a record of expression of lack of faith in permanence and in the remote future .... The city refuses to acknowledge its situation and position, not just from the physical aspect [facing away from the sea, the Yarkon River, and the old city ofJaffa] but also culturally. ... Siege is extinction, imprisonment. In such a case, the citizens must question their physical and emotional preparedness in times of stress and need. Prediction:[in the form of diary of future events]: The government has ordered its employees to leave their offices in Jerusalem and to relocate in a new government enclave in northern Tel Aviv. . . . The residents of Maalei Adumim completed their transfer to Tel Aviv today .... Today, 15,732 people were permitted to enter the city .... It was only a question of when this invasion would occur because the city has now expanded to the outer limit of its capacity. ... Beneath the surface, rumors and threats have begun to circulate. Foreigners have commandeered all the water resources .... The foreign immigrants are changing the characterof the city. ... The municipality has decided to eject the squattersfrom the green avenues. High walls are being constructedon each side, and access is only permitted once a month, to groups not exceeding one hundred and for only one

hour at a time. ... The Ayalon River will be flooded for the fifth stage of defense and against invasion ... Barriershave been constructed on all bridges over the Ayalon and the Yarkon. Nobody is allowed to enter the city ... Groups of armed youths have recruited hotheads and fanatics in order to create disturbances. . . . The authorities have created "Tel Aviv Islands," which are cordoned off and heavily guarded by the Civil Guard and privatesecurity organizations .... note Sirens sounded a continuous ... the enemy is advancing from the north. ... The approach of the enemy is constantly discussed.

"Between Destinyand Fate"byR. Gerdand E. Zilberman In the text, "Between Destiny and Fate," R. Gerd and E. Zilberman chose for additional study a specific review of Tel Aviv's urban history: destruction of buildings and institutions. The analogy here was psychological. Hypothesis by analogy: Two forces have been operating in the city since it was founded: (1) youth and flowering (Aviv) and (2) age and death (Tel). These opposing forces promote conflict. This is resolved by a cyclical process wherein fear of aging leads to premature death of places in the city so that they can be remembered as always young. The process expands until the situation is reached where "tels" (artificial mausoleums) are created. After this stage, the process recommences. In consequence, a further process is observed in the city: the destruction of landmarks that express hopelessness of renewal. The new landmarks are in themselves symbols of contemporary progress. Illustration: In the existence of Tel Aviv, from its establishment until today, we have identified three cycles, starting with conflict and ending with creation of tels.
1995 JAE49/2 November 90

1.) From the twenties to the forties: Example of a place that ceased to function before its time: the Casino (1923-1933). Example of the creation of a tel: the Levant Fairgrounds, which became obsolescent after three years. An old landmark that was destroyed: Gymnasia Herzlia (the first high school in Tel Aviv). A new landmark: the Shalom Tower (commercial offices and stores), originally the tallest building in the Middle East. 2.) From the fifties to the seventies: Examples of the creation of tels: the Southern Railway Terminal, which has hardly functioned since it was constructed, and Kikar Hamedina (The State Plaza), the center of which is 200 meters in diameter, which has been standing idle for thirty years. Example of the destruction of an old landmark: the new Dizengof circus, a concrete construction covering the intersection of four streets, with a kinetic sculpture of water and fire, replaces the old circle at ground level, with a circular pool in the middle. 3.) From the beginning of the fifties to the present day: Constant change of "in" and "out" venues. Examples of the creation of tels: the Atarim Plaza (a deck of restaurants and caf6s on the shore over a roadway, with parking and two stories of shops; sparse activity: the commercial floors are unused), and the new Central Bus Station, which has never functioned. Examples of an exchange of landmark: The City Gardens Mall, a commercial center and exclusive high-rise condominium, which replaces the zoological gardens. "TheConquest of theSea"by O. Halaf and Y Levi The additional sphere of study for the text "The Conquest of the Sea" by 0. Halaf and Y. Levi, was Israel's ancient history. No analogy was suggested. Hypothesis:Judaism, the "hydropho-

bic" culture that emphasizes the verbalconceptualand rejectsthe visual-aesthetic, produceda coastalcity that turns its back to the sea. The story of Tel Aviv is Illustration: the storyof Tel Aviv and the sea,which did not startwith the new city builders,but in ancienttimes.... The biblicaltraditiondepicts the conquestof sea monstersand the total authorityof the Deity over the giants of the creation .... "On that day will the Lord smite with his strong and mighty sword the leviathan,and the crooked seaserpent, and slay the crocodile of the sea" A-B).... Only this cul(Isaiah,kaf-zayin, has the Tora [The Law]... ture [Judaism] of verbaltradiand has becomea paradigm tion without physicalaffinitiesto place ....

With the establishment of the firstHebrew city [Tel Aviv] ... originallya suburbwith a strongEastern tradition, European ... the sea was not acknowledged as a potentialasset. During the twenties, the mayor [Meir Dizengofj claimed that Jews had not the slightest interest in sea-bathing. Industry was more important.Accordingly,a large for inareaof the shore was appropriated dustry, and only poor immigrants conhuts there.Indeed, structeda few miserable the seawas regarded by pioneersas no more than a sewage dump for the city .... Tel Aviv consideredthe ocean as an obstacleto facedawayfromthe shore, its construction, runand identifiedthe broadthoroughfares Bento the sea [Dizengof, ning parallel Yehuda, etc.] as its real assets. ... The

history of Tel Aviv indicatesthat a similar attitudeappliedto theYarkon and to nature in general .... Geddes'sapartmentblock had a tiny gardenin the centerand, for better protection,the buildingswere raisedon stilts. In time the gardenbecamea public shelter.The watersof the Yarkon,as they flowed to the sea, were returning to the desert [The National Water Carrier Project]. . ... The river became a dirty, brown,stinkingstrip.In the new city plan, Tel Avivconquers the seashore and converts it into dry land [hotels-among them the to the Sea,"designedby project"Gateway Safdie,which includesan airportand artificial islands].