Silicatescape - preserving building materials in the old urban center landscape: The case of the silicate brick and urban planning in Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Irit Amit-Cohen

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3 Scopus citations


In November 20th 2007 Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality confirmed its list of buildings earmarked for conservation. The confirmation was related only to Tel Aviv cultural heritage, the city that was founded in 1909, along the Mediterranean seashore, next to old Jaffa. The list was published 4 years after part of the old urban center of Tel Aviv was nominated as World Heritage Site for its architectural uniqueness (Tel Aviv the White City). The list and the nomination were focused on architectural styles, which are based on building material, the silicate brick, used in Israel throughout the years 1918-1948. This building material and technology left its imprint on Tel Aviv's landscape and is also a part of Tel Aviv's history and development. In spite of its importance, all concerned in Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality and urban planning, have totally ignored this phenomenon. The thrust of this discussion is that the silicate bricks phenomenon, a building material and technology, due to its importance to Tel Aviv heritage and its vast distribution in Tel Aviv landscape, should be integrated into the current urban renewal development process in the old city of Tel Aviv. The discovery of its history and its role in Tel Aviv cultural heritage will change the attitudes of Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality to this building material; instead of a vernacular phenomena, a common brick or a frequent building technology, it will get a better appreciation. Urban landscapes of many cities around the world are based on vernacular phenomena, which are ignored by the urban municipalities. The silicate case should serve as an example of the role of a vernacular heritage, and in this case a common building material, in the urban renewal and conservation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-375
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Preservation and conservation
  • Silicate brick
  • Urbanrenewal
  • Vernacular built heritage


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