By Leaves We Live is a joint project focused on republishing the Geddes Report (Tel Aviv master plan, 1925) and exploring the concept of utopia and its implementation. The project describes a journey to a city that functions as a habitat for the humans and plants that live in it. The catalog accompanying the project includes the historical report, as well as architectural, photographic, and literary impressions of the relationships between humans, nature, and civilization in Tel Aviv. By Leaves We Live was featured at the Venice Biennial of Architecture as part of the Artificial Natures Symposium by Ideal Spaces Working Group. The project is a collaboration of the White City Center, AN+ Architects, Microsoft Garage Israel, the Department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, and Tel Aviv Global initiative. Order the catalog: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Team AN+: Avital Gourary, Natanel Elfassy, Tom Sowak, Yoni Chechik, Shay Ben-Ami, Tal Yaniv, Michal Naftali, Assaf Jaya Microsoft Garage Israel - R&D Center - Guy Shalev, Ida Vash The White City Center: Jeremie Hoffmann, Rachel Gottesman, Shira Levy-Benyemini, Sharon Golan-Yaron Editor: Rachel Gottesman and Natanel Elfassy Photo: Aviad Bar-Ness Design: Yanek Iontef Sound: Rea Mochiach Shira Levy-Benyemini, Director of the White City Center, in the introduction of the catalog:
Utopias are untouchable. Once you try to realize them, their allusive qualities dissolve and disappear. This publication features the complete Geddes Report, as it was submitted in 1925; but the Utopian garden city of Tel Aviv continues to hover around the spaces of the buildings he created. In Tel Aviv, the urban-ecological utopia that views the city as a habitat of continuous coexistence for various organisms has become a concept that is itself intangible.
The Geddes Plan has become a synonym for a beneficial garden city, but only a few actually read the report, which until now remained stored in the municipal archives of Tel Aviv. The secret of this plan lays, therefore, not in the actual study, but rather in the liminal spaces between the historical reality, the imagined heritage, and the current physical city. Geddes examined the relationships between the people and the environment, between the city and its natural elements, between landscape and planning, between the south and the north; all of which remain relevant to Tel Aviv-Yafo to this day.
Like any other alienated, challenging metropolis, the city of Tel Aviv has managed to flow between two layers of reality. The sublime and the pedestrian. The vision that Geddes created for the sublime was implemented by the asset-driven planning reality of the pedestrian when tens of thousands of immigrants were knocking on the gates of the White City even before it was constructed.
Tel Aviv is on the move, balancing conservation and development, emerging from the garden-formation blocks, designed by Geddes as an urban biotope that sustains life in different rhythms. This habitat has itself evolved into an organism with a life of its own. Apparently this is the unique DNA of Tel Aviv urbanism.
Shira Levy-Benyemini, Director
The White City Center - Tel-Aviv municipality with the collaboration of the German Federal ministry of Interior, Building and Community