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Three pilgrimages -
Social and environmental sustainability in an orthodox neighborhood

Romema , Jerusalem


4th year urban studio

Technion - Faculty of architecture and town planning 

The neighborhood of Romema is located in West Jerusalem, near the entrance to the city. It is the first Jerusalem neighborhood to be built as part of a citywide master plan. There are currently about 40,000 people living in Romema, most of them are Orthodox Jews.

Over the course of our work on this
project we understood that we must
create and reinforce the connections within the different parts of the Romema neighborhood, its diverse communities, and its connection to the rest of the city. 
The task we were given involved the addition of 2,700 residential units to the Romema neighborhood.
We chose to interpret this goal by
focusing on three things

1.) providing a high quality residential area


2.) strengthening the fabric of the existing neighborhood, and


3.) improving the connectivity between the neighborhood and the wider city of modern Jerusalem.

Romema’s diverse communities

 - scheme  

Romema and its connection
to the city of Jerusalem

 - scheme  

The structure of the existing neighborhood is strengthened through the development of three axes: 


The Enlightenment Axis


Along this Axis one can find a wide diversity in the building styles (Arab buildings, garden city style buildings , and modern buildings). The variety in the building style is reflective of the diverse communities that inhabit this area. We therefore designed this area both conceptually and physically open by nature. The axis has open vistas to Jerusalem’s mountain views and the public square at the southern end of the axis is partly secular in nature as it opens and continues into the office and commercial part of the neighborhood. This last element is also useful in attracting new businesses to the neighborhood. The axis also contains student dormitories due to its physical connection to the university. In addition, the local college of arts also gets a new building and an auditorium in our proposed design.


The Israeli axis


This axis connects the Sackher Park, a known meeting point for secular and ultra-orthodox populations in Jerusalem, up to the open landscapes and the metropolitan parks north of the neighborhood, going straight through the Israeli government hill. Along this complex route (because of its character and current institutions) we designed new small focal points for daily uses such as kindergartens, small
business or local urban services. These focal points are not distinctly characterized, and thus can be shared by both secular and religious people.


The Torah (Bible) Axis


This axis is built around existing local communities that by their nature tend to be very religious nature. Consequently, this axis was designed as a hierarchical grid which allows easy movement of the different populations throughout different areas. This axis is closest to the heart of the more religious quarters of the city, and links Romema to the commercial and cultural centers of the orthodox community in Jerusalem. This area contains of large number of religious educational institutions and businesses of a religious character.


As part of the project, I designed a portion of the Israeli axis in greater detail. I chose its northern part. In this area I designed

a promenade overviewing the vally, I extended and developed an existing pathway that heads down into the valley, and added buildings for religious functions that require some amount of privacy.

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