“Ecoweek” is an association for the promotion of green design and architecture.

This year, the annual convention took place at the Technological Institute in the city of Holon, in the center of Israel.

Designers from Europe, North America and the Middle East have come together with the purpose of designing affordable housing in a sustainable environment.

Senior architects join with Israeli architecture students and work together on projects that may one day become a reality.

[Elias Messinas, Ecoweek Founder and Director]:
“Ecology is basically looking at things in a more holistic way, so what we try to do is to see how to create opportunity for housing.”

Sometimes we can learn more from other people’s mistakes, so included here are also lectures by experts on how NOT to design housing

[Amos Bar-Elli, Dean, Faculty of Design, Holon Technological Institute]:
“The people who built it found that it was cheaper to get rid of it than to keep it running.”

A group led by urban designers from Canada are planning the sustainable renovation of the center of a low-income neighborhood in Holon.

[Daniel Pearl, Architect Moaq, Canada]:
“I think maybe through designing a by-pass that deals with public space and urban agriculture we can tie together the different roots of the community. But we are here to listen and guide, we are not here to say what to do.”

Included in the convention were representatives from Palestine, as well as several Middle Eastern countries

[Walla Abu Assab, Interior Design Student, East Jerusalem]:
“I’m a Palestinian, and there are people here from Germany and Italy who come from a different culture and have a different way of thinking regarding architecture. I want to see what they have to offer, and I will take with me what I find useful.”

Currently there is a negative “waste exchange” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel buries waste in the Palestinian Authority’s areas; conversely, when the Palestinians burn their waste, the polluted air is often carried away by the wind into Israel.

Here, at the convention, the atmosphere is different.

[Elias Messinas, Ecoweek Founder and Director]:
“The Israelis and Palestinians young professional have to work it out. They have to design building that reduce the amount of waste, even deplete the amount of waste by using material that don’t create waste in the site, recycled material and basically change the whole concept of design.”

Rather than seeking the new and the different, many here say that the concept of sustainability in design is actually often found in the past, in particular in traditional culture.

[Daniel Pearl, Architect Moaq, Canada]:
“Looking backward to project forward is always a healthy and sustainable approach.”

Reporter:Aviva Grunpeter Photographer:David Bershadsky
NTD News, Holon, Israel