Victoria Braverman – Tel Aviv Old and New
The juxtaposition of old and new in Tel Aviv is something which constantly thrills me. Standing on the beach, looking left at Jaffa’s breathtaking ancient coastline, then turning 180 degrees to view the long stretch of Tel Aviv’s modern sea front, with its hotels and towers.
Wandering through my local area of Neve Tzedek, comparing its quaint charm to the boxy Bauhaus-ness of my former area, the Old North. Spotting crumbling graffiti (or “street art”) covered walls next to elegant colonial style ivy-clad houses, in the shadow of brand new glass towers. And the same goes for the interiors.
Last week I saw an amazing apartment in Neve Tzedek, which has no kitchen (“unmodernised” here means just a sink and fridge) but sports a giant jacuzzi on the balcony. I’m guessing that one could probably trace the roots of the London’s shabby chic trend right back to Tel Aviv.
This combination of old and new is particularly prevalent in my end of the city, where property developers are often given permission to build tall modern towers on the condition that their architects incorporate an existing, albeit derelict, property into their plans. With property prices here through the roof (pun not intended), it’s an appealing proposition for the developer. What appears today to be a condemned wreck can be transformed within a matter of months into a beautiful (or sometimes not) example of architecture “in the eclectic style”. Entire streets are transformed from slum areas to those for only the super rich within a couple of years, omitting the usual interim stage of arty/bohemian.