‘Balconies Play’ is a landscape project that seeks to enhance the edge of the city by defining its boundaries outward, while at the same time improving the neighborhood’s life inward, creating continuity and accessibility. Resembling a multi-dimensional piel of cubes, this folly encourages movements between its parts. The structure is open from all directions and allows the public to explore its shape and the context surrounding it.
The structure is composed of twenty-two identical cubes, built of steel and white acrylic coating, which together create an open space with balconies and shading. The structure poses a stark contrast against the apartment blocks that stand beside it: long masses with monotonic and flat façades, which were built during the early sixties and haven’t changed since. This harsh urbanistic architecture makes the Balconies Play folly a welcome, even essential, addition.
The location of the project is at the edge of the city of Kiriat-Ono, in the center of Israel. This is a green public space, surrounded by a highway
and a main road from south and east, with the potential to be highly visible by motorists, residential blocks to the north, and a beautiful eucalyptus grove to the east. For many years the grove was hidden by billboards, without any landscape development. As such, the edge of the city remained underutilized, without any connection to the residents’ life.
The folly structure not only defines a border, but also welcomes the residents and invites them to stay in this Green Zone. The landscape development exploits the site’s topography in order to frame the lower balconies. The pointed use of retaining walls and stairs connects to the higher balconies. Paved paths link the residents’ block to the folly and to the grove, which becomes an accessible public garden. The highest cubes are used for shading. They are supported by thin steel columns that are connected to the balconies cubes, and hidden by climbing plants.
The result is a structure that appears to be partially floating beside the treetops. This public space, located at the edge of city life, becomes a community landmark rather than simply an urban border.