Author : Anais Simaan

University : Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

Status : BArch, 2015

Advisors : Gaby Shwartz, Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat

Title : Hotze Carmel | An Infrastructural Intervention In The Urban Environment Of Haifa

Haifa bay is a center of heavy industry, refineries, port and airport. This huge urban joint disconnects Haifa’s metropolis, taking over 40% of the Haifa coastline, emits the biggest amount of carcinogenic substances, and serves as a ticking bomb in the middle of the city.

In addition, recent future plans aimed to increase the refineries by 3.3, build the new Gulf Port,

increasing the existing port, and disable the airport. These plans are not only turning a blind eye to the mentioned security threats, it increases them. Expansion of refineries, those responsible for the pollution, means increasing the danger and the pollution threshold to residents around.

The project points out the tension between our necessity of heavy industry and the threats it holds.

On one hand,

The city’s economy depends on the port industry. Hundreds of thousands of families from Haifa and its surroundings rely on it as resource for their [ livelihood] .

On the other hand,

The current situation of the bay area is freezing the city’s natural development. Following the suggested future plans, Haifa is at a crossroads between becoming an industrial area that has a city, or a city that depends on its industry. The situation could turn into a terrible environmental disaster that is going to affect the entire northern region.

WHAT I SUGGEST

The project is based on the planned utility tunnel “Hotze Carmel”. The tunnel is ought to carry out all dangerous materials and infrastructural pipes across the Carmel Mountain while connecting between the eastern and western parts of the city. The project offers a new perspective on Haifa underground space, and suggests to expand the infrastructure space to contain the hazardous materials, storage containers, and some of the existing factories.

The action protects the explosive substances and protects the city from those risks. In addition, more than 70% of the precious bay area could be returned to the city. The project aims to rethink the relationship of the fundamental infrastructural elements of the city: The industry, port, airport and the transportation hub located in the bay area.

Interview

S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Anais Simaan_ There are three main typologies for an industrial city. None of these typologies match the 3D-dimensional situation of the city of Haifa, as all of them regards the 2D surface. The project suggests a forth typology that takes into consideration the complexity of Haifa.
Israel's political situation has a major role in all urban planning aspects, as the security question rises again and again. The project suggest a new way to think about protecting the dangerous industrial materials while keeping the industry and its economy within the city.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
AS_ Graphic Design, definitely. And Ballroom Latin dancing.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
AS_ The ability to teach myself. Before entering architecture school I had a complete different image of what's going inside. At the beginning it was pretty hard, I came with expectations to be taught how to build, design and become an Architect. I think that at my third year I suddenly understood what I am missing, and started teaching myself by looking, reading, and asking questions. Every day I saw some technical tutorial, read a book or searched for precedents.
Architecture School made me think how to look at things differently, and how to seek knowledge.

S//A : Describe your dream project
AS_ Infrastructural project. I always looked at this field, and wondered why architects are out of this vital urban dialogue. Cities are planned by designing good infrastructure, Smart cities are a proof of this matter. I think that urban design should take into consideration that its future depends on rethinking about how infrastructure could serve the city.