Lab 1: Urban Code | Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem

Lab 1: Urban Code

Total Hours
Semester A
Course Day
Time 14:00 - 20:30

The aim of the Urban Code Lab, the first lab in the curriculum, is the development of understanding urban life, through observing, documenting and validating intuitive insights about a certain territory of the city. This is the fifth year of the Urban Code lab in the curriculum, and in past years the lab focused on the city-center of Tel-Aviv, on Jaffa, on south-east Tel-Aviv (te neighborhoods of Kefar Shalem, HaTikva, Ezra, Yedidya and Ha’Argazim). The lab’s outcomes present a human, cultural, architectural, political, social and historic mosaic, possible and relevant only for the explored territory – they define its unique urban code.

The students are required to develop insights and observations towards the explored territory, and represent them in a title (statement), explanatory short text and visual image. The observations are collected into a booklet and deal with the various aspects of Tel-Aviv – Jaffa, with its neighborhoods and communities, and address the public space and its function, landscapes, heritage, social and political conflicts and their spatial expresstion, design, materials, movement, sound, colors, textures, language and individual-collective relations.

The intuitive observations are achieved through tours, interviews, drawings and photographs, back by historic research, data collection and analysis, literature, poetry and films, studying urban plans, documentation of buildings, signs, graffiti, street names and their meaning, behavioral patterns in the space, linkages, boundaries, and transitions between neighborhoods, fabrics and communities.

The lab bases a discourse founded on basic concepts of every analysis of urban space, and on the fundamental premise that no intervention should be proposed for the fabric without a deep understanding of its essence – studying the urban code of a place, teaches us, designers/architects/planners that we never operate in a vacuum, but rather our job is to provide the communities the ideal conditions for their thriving.