Florentine Neighborhood, Tel-Aviv
Peretz Architecture and Architect Einav Schory are responsible for Florentine's new design program.
Florentine is changing its face but maintains authenticity and the joyous combination of manual-
labor and art, between craft and creativity and between the older and younger populations.
Historical Background Summary
Florentine’s first settlers were descendants of the Egyptian Falahs, immigrants brought to Israel in the 1830s by Muhammad Ali and his son Ibrahim Pasha.
They settled on the fertile erosion land that was referred to as ‘basa’ (the swamp).
Beginning in the 1840s, churches were built in the area, as well as the establishment of the American Colony (1866) and the Templar Colony of Volhle (1869) under the Capitols regime during Ottoman rule of the area.
In 1927, the Florentine neighborhood was founded thanks to David Abarbanel and contractor
Shlomo (Salomon) Florentine, who immigrated to Israel from Thessaloniki, Bevon.
Its location was close to the road emerging from Jaffa to Nablus and the railway from Jaffa to
Jerusalem, and close to an industrial zone (an expression used by its founders who largely strove to merge its settler population near a tiny industry). Initially, Florentine was inhabited by Jewish immigrants from Greece, Poland, North Africa, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bukhara.
The area was designed as a middle-class neighborhood during the Mandate period with narrow
streets consisting of 3-4 storey buildings that combine commerce and industry on the ground floor and residences on the floors above.
During the Mandate period, the municipality of Jaffa indirectly encouraged the development of the neighborhood, and as of the second half of the 1930s, the commercial center of Tel Aviv spread to the Jewish neighborhoods in Jaffa.
Following the riots of 1936, strong feelings arose among the residents of the neighborhood to break away from Jaffa. But expectations and hopes from the Jaffa municipality were soon crushed.
It was not until the end of 1940 that a mutual agreement was signed with the municipality of Jaffa, in which it was decided that it would benefit from most of the proceeds from the neighborhood's residents' taxes. But in fact, up until Operation Chametz (1948), the neighborhood and its surroundings remained under the municipality of Jaffa.
In the late 1960s, the abandonment of the neighborhood began by its original inhabitants, whose
place was taken by commerce businesses and a tiny industry.
In 1991, the Tel Aviv municipality announced a regional regeneration project that lasted until the end of the decade. Since then, the regeneration of Florentine has been led by private initiatives including renovations of old buildings, the construction of apartments, the opening of cafes, entertainment venues, galleries, and workshops for young artists and designer shops, eliminating the old industries, such as clothing and furniture.
The boundaries of the neighborhood are now defined between HaAliyah Streets in the east, Elifelt in the west, Jaffa Road to the north and Shlomo Road (Salame) to the south.
Typical Block - North Florentine
City building plan (TABA) order 44 according to the master plan review:
Sizes of buildings 14x12 meters – the small front facade facing the street (half the size of the buildings in Jaffa B)
Small inner courtyard – 5 meters distance between rear building lines
Building line 0
Corner lots have greater building rights
The height of a building will not exceed 3 floors, except for corner lots and lots on Levinsky and Herzl Street, rising to 4 floors
The height of a building on the narrower street from 9 meters will not exceed 2 floors
Typical Block - South Florentine
City building plan (TABA) order of Jaffa B according to the master plan review:
The size of the buildings is 24x12 meters – the small facade facing the street
A courtyard with a minimum area of 9 square meters
The width of the streets ranges from 12-20 meters
The height of the buildings shall not exceed 125% of the width of the street
Increasing building rights up to 50% per floor of the lot
Corner plots have greater building rights
On the wide streets, like Herzl, the buildings can reach 8-10 floors
Most of the construction in the neighborhood took place in the 1920s and 1930s, and was influenced
by a variety of building styles that characterized both the city of Tel Aviv and the entire period
The northern part of the neighborhood was built in the 1920s (commercial center area) – this
section shows a mixture of construction styles: eclectic, modernist and even art deco.
In this section you can also notice a construction style of a local character, known as the Florentine style (as defined by architect Nahum Cohen)
HaKishon 81 - Art Deco Style Levinsky 19 - Eclectic Style HaKishon 74 - Florentine Style
The southern part was built in the 1930s and its most prominent building style is the international style in various variations.
From 1934-1935, a group of dwellings in barracks was built west of Abarbanel Street. Over the years, this area has become a center for carpentry, locksmithing and crafts.
Herzl Street (corner of Florentine Street) – 1948: Continuous façade, embossed balconies and archers.
Yair Stern Street – 1960s: In Florentine most of the buildings were covered with plaster.
Florentine Barrack Hertzel / Florentine Intersection HaHalutzim 34 International Style International Style
The section of the streets in the southern part is narrow (usually 10-12 meters) and built in a dense grid with almost no public spaces in the neighborhood.
In light of the obvious shortage of open spaces and vegetation, the trees along the continuous
facades play a key role in the climatic control of the public space in the neighborhood.
Jaffa's master plans link the height of the buildings to the width of the street, that is, they refer to a volumetric construction calculation.
Most of the buildings are originally based on the ruins of: a high commercial ground floor and above it 2-3 typical high floors (3-3.5 meters).
The way the streets are built produces a continuous facade line, usually with a backyard forming
between the buildings, allowing light and air to enter the back of the building.
The Street and Backyard Sections
The height of the building shall not exceed 1.25 from the width of the street
Obligation to build a backyard between 25-200 square meters and 3-8 meters wide between buildings (depending on the area) - the area will be open private space
The height of the building shall not exceed 2 times the width of the inner courtyard (the distance between the rear building lines)
Lateral lot boundaries will be between 2-4 meters – Balconies can be built in the area between the building lines and the lot
A corner lot can reach a height of 14 meters
Typical Street Inner Yard
One of the main and prominent features of the Florentine neighborhood is in fact continuous
textured construction along the streets with a mixture of uses of commerce, offices or tiny industry on the ground floor and residences on the upper floors. The ground floor is accentuated by high spaces suitable for commercial activity or small-scale industry, and above it are 2 floors intended for residence. Therefore, the importance of the whole structure does not derive from one unique object, but from being part of a set of continuous textures.
Points on the neighborhood level:
Mixing uses - reinforcement, separation, placement
Introduction of offices
Apartment size - depending on the type of residents desired
Points on the building level:
Balconies (Florentine style)
Wholesalers - noise, dirt, unloading and loading, neighborhood barriers
Dangerous buildings – balconies that crumble to the street
Intermittent working lighting
Florentine Master Plan - Selected Plan - "Praised Heterogeneous"
Principles of the selected program from Florentine master plan:
Create a more subtle separation between commerce and residences
Mixture of uses - commercial ground
Residential intensity – less commerce
Commercial texture area: (Between Ha'Aliyah Steet, Jaffa Road, Wolfson Street and Yedidya Frenkel Street)
Maintaining areas of regional commerce (area of lamps, textiles, etc.)
Entry of offices of professionals above the trading floor
Recommendation to allow a large upper floor for penthouses
Main commercial Street – Herzl Street:
Gateway to the neighborhood from the north
Conservation of the functional structure of the street and encouraging commercial activity on the ground floor
A combination of shopping and street entertainment using cafés spread out among the furniture shops
Seating areas – strengthening the feeling of hanging out and walking in the street
Store storage units will move to the southern part of the neighborhood and will be restricted there
Offices above the commerce floor and above residence
Ensuring the vacancy of the inner courtyards from overuse, for the enjoyment of the residents living on a busy street
Commerce and residential street – HaKishon Street
The only street in the neighborhood that begins at the northern border and ends on the southern border of the neighborhood
Great importance for maintaining the fabric and character of the street
Evacuation of businesses and storage units that penetrated the upper floors
Recreation axis: Florentine Street
Planning the southern part of the neighborhood for uses:
The southern part of the neighborhood will be characterized by a combination of
commerce and residence
Prohibition on the rooms of crafts and other disturbing uses, as opposed to the situation today in which the city building plan (TABA) allows a wide variety of uses, some of which impair quality of life
The plan does not recommend additions of buildings in this area, as the existing city building plan (TABA) allows additions at high rates that have not yet been used in most of the neighborhood
Florentine Master Plan - Selected Plan - "Praised Heterogeneous"
Architecture and design:
Maintaining the streets in the neighborhood textured. The various streets will be characterized by special flooring, street furniture, lighting, signage, vegetation, street decorations, shielding and solutions for the roofing of entrances to homes and businesses.
Tourist street design: Florentine Street to its entirety, Vital Street between Florentine Street and Salame Street, and Yedidya Frankel Street to HaKishon Street. These streets will be decorated solemnly with elements of colorful street decorations, colorful roofing for seating areas, tree planting and colorful vegetation, decorative signage, historical and architectural explanatory notes, designer drinking taps, light fixtures hanging in short distances to give a sense of lighting and solemnity and flood lighting on buildings of interest.
Commercial street design: Herzl Street, Hashuk Street, Levinsky Street, and Wolfson Street, and Aluf Batslut Alley.
Residential street design: From Herzl Street to the west, the streets will be designed for residential use. Pavements in interlocking flooring, trees in crowded intervals, and seating areas.
Squares design: The urban spaces and the proposed street squares that are offered are Aluf Batslut Alley and Washington Boulevard.
Buildings conservation: Preparing a general design guide to the neighborhood.
The following is what Ichilov wrote in a memo to the mayor, a copy of which was also sent to Rabbi
Frenkel about 65 years ago:
"It is the duty of the municipality to help the Florentine residents by purchasing a suitable land for a public park, synagogue and other institutions. Let us not forget that this neighborhood is populated by 70000-80000 people, without a garden and a recreational place for children and from moment to time to toil. Since this neighborhood was added to Tel Aviv"
[Florentine Neighborhood – Allocation of space for parks and cultural institutions, 29.4.1954, Tel
Aviv Municipality, c 2211]
New buildings and their impact on the public sphere:
Today there is already a shortage of:
In vegetation and open public areas
In public buildings
In reasonable sanitation conditions due to population crowdedness, despite the intense level of urban service in this area
Existing buildings and add-ons:
The valid plans allow for the addition of existing buildings.
This track poses three design challenges:
The new mass design added to the building and the ratio of the existing building to the new floors added to it;
The addition of floors on existing buildings affects the section of the street and the ratio of the existing building and the addition of the buildings to the existing buildings without additions.
Principles on the addition of reinforcement components of existing buildings, which are designed to adapt them to the standard requirements for earthquake building resistance and other regulations and standards.
Promote awareness of the unique character of the Florentine neighborhood by displaying the characteristics of the built texture, architectural language and establishing values (architects, historic, social, and cultural).
Establish mandatory design guidelines for maintaining the stylistic integrity of the neighborhood through requests for a permit for new construction and additional construction.
Create transparency when it comes to issued building permits in the Florentine neighborhood. The guidelines are an accompanying and supplementary document to the valid plans, and will be updated periodically as needed.
Stay tuned for more blog posts about Florentine's neighborhood design...