Ashkelon Central Buisness District
A new urban district is designed in Ashkelon’s center. The new complex will combine the city hall tower with additional office spaces, four residential high rise buildings, and the existing library and cultural center. In the heart of the new complex there will be an intense urban plaza with an ecological pond and a waterfall dropping all the way to the lower parking level.
A scenic amphitheater will create an accessible pedestrian connection between the main plaza and the library and new plantations will create a link between the entrance to the complex and the entrance to the city hall building and the main plaza. During the design process, much attention was given to the proximity of the site to the Gaza Strip, and the constant threat of rockets. The project was based on ecological design principals, such as collecting and handling runoff, using a lot of trees and shading. For example, the commercial facade was designed to allow a continuous circulation and wide shaded spaces for coffee shops. A great thought was given to ingraining the towers into the urban landscape in a way they will connect the most to the urban complex. Therefore, a promenade, circulating the entire project was designed: Starting from the western entrance, rising above the business façade, facing the main plaza, passing through a children's play area, into the City Hall Tower and back to the Street over a bridge. The site was blessed with ancient sycamore trees and some of them had to be relocated in order to build the new building. We reorganized those trees in the area between the cultural center plaza and the entrance to the new city-hall, in order to create a “sycamores boulevard”, which will commemorate the ancient natural boulevard that used to connect the Gaza Strip with Jaffa.
Architecture: Rani Ziss Architects, Michael Weinraub Architects
Client: Ashkelon Economic Development Corporation
Team: Tali Wexler, Boar Barr
Status: Under Constraction