Africa ; Israel

Project

With the end of World War II and the dissolution of the colonial occupation, there was a transitional period in which the empires withdrew from the African continent, and gradually the African countries gained independence. In the same historical narrative, the Israeli Independence declaration created a common ideological denominator with the African nations, with both countries rooted in democracy, socialism, labor and the spirit of nationalism.

The frequent upheavals that plagued African countries, including rule exchanges, invasion of capitalist mechanisms in a new trend of neocolonialism, and the rise of radical Islam – have directly affected the nature of their relations with Israel, with relations often being replaced by suspicion and hostility. Despite the crisis of the African-Israeli relations and complete diplomatic detachment, trade relations between Israel and many African countries continued to exist, particularly in the field of infrastructure.

The 1990s brought with them a fragile political stability, allowing a renewed positive connection between Israel and African countries. Since then, the Israeli presence at the ‘Black Continent’, which is present in face of crony-capitalism, is a source of controversy over the extent of the Israeli intervention and influence onto the African continent.

The current project offers a railway-line stretching from Israel to Uganda based on the Nile River.

The lack of roads and railways infrastructures in Africa is considered to be the continent’s worst affliction, leaving many areas isolated, which severely impede the aid missions.

The establishment of this railway type is creating an independent platform to conduct an open and transparent trade-affairs, accessible to a broad segment of population and markets, and will use as a lever for development and entrepreneurship in the individual and collective hierarchy in parallel.

The added value of building this kind of railway is in the ability to shatter the continent into fragments in specific factors, inflate local virtues and weave Israel into this rich fabric.

In a precise planning of each train-station, a generic structure is implanted into a specific territory compartment. From here, the values of each station will derive from local needs, cultural tradition, heritage, and material formations.

The station is an infrastructural wedge- Internally use as a scheduled platform for occurrence, and externally, a spatial anchor that frames the landscape and cultural ambience.

In order to embody this approach, the project presents planning feasibility for two stations – one in Juba, a capital of Southern Sudan, and the other in Be’er Sheva, a developing city in the south of Israel. The comparative model intends to reveal the tectonic similarities alongside the local values that characterize each place.

Interview

What prompted the project and interest?

My family lived for many years in Africa as part of an infrastructure development. The memories, stories, and mannerisms which my family brought from Africa, gave rise to divided insights into the conduct and degree of intervention of the ‘white man’ in the ‘black continent’. On the one hand, development is necessary to promote initiatives and improve the local way of life. On the other hand, there is a sense of superiority, surveillance, and creation of local dependence on external bodies.From that point, I have chosen to deal with big questions such as “neo-colonialism” through my own spectrum and point of view.

Are you interested in exploring the power of infrastructure further?

Unlike the power externalization of the mechanism during the industrial revolution, today the infrastructure is invisible and we tend to assess their power mainly when it fails.

I believe that gaining a high-quality infrastructural may provide a platform for happening and other activities (such as managing transactions due to the Internet or getting to work via highways). Nowadays, our integration as planners with existing technologies can make a significant difference in both global and local trends.

What was your work process in terms of project development, research and design?

The final project stretched over a year, so I devoted myself to the methodology of “design thinking” – to invent and reduce alternatives. Then I could formulate accurate artifacts to build up the general narrative – theory and history, the master plan, train-stations and railroad cars – all those have a conceptual common denominator and architectural ideas that repeat in several scales.

Could you explain the selection of introductory images further? how pivotal were these in defining first the problem and then an argument?

In order to explain the introduction to this project, it was necessary to choose a certain point on the historical timeline to start with. Israel is a young country which established in 1948, at the same time the African countries gained their independence. I saw this historical point as a baseline of agenda which I could explore the various trends and developments that took place between “white and black”, “socialism” and “capitalism”, “globalization” and “localism”, “generic” and “uniqueness”.

What prompted the use of the animations? What potential does this hold in relation to the static drawings? What is your take on the hyper-realistic render?

At first, the project’s idea of connecting Israel to the African continent over 4500 kilometers of the railway line was heard as an absurd idea, so I wanted to reveal in a series of drawings and illustration the realist aspect of that project and the real feasibility of it.

After a series of concrete analyzes and reliance on data facts, the drawings are designated to describe the implementation of the architecture in each specific compartment, taking into account local needs, traditions, landscape virtues etc.

I assume that the animation is a result of my attempts to describe the various scales of the project, and especially the sensuality and the ability of the train by movement- breaking the linear journey into different fragments with specific characteristics.

What software/ programs did you use?

Because of the project asked to attach to real facts as much as possible, I made extensive use of hyper-detailed models that I created with Rhino.

The post-production made by the programming like VRAY, AUTOCAD and ADOBE pack.

What would you say is the architect's most important tool?

I believe that the most powerful tool for an architect is to be sensitive – sensitive to the environment, sensitive to society. From that point, you can act more clean and accurate.

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