A garden for conservation, located at the heart of the Talbiyah neighborhood in Jerusalem, that was built in the 1920s, during the British Mandate in Israel.

The garden had its beginnings in the 1930s, when Elimelech Maxmilian Admoni, head gardener for the Jerusalem Municipality designed it in the spirit of the classic English garden.

The project is part of the renewal and development of green public spaces initiated by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation, with the cooperation and participation of local residents.

The garden, nearly 5,500 sqm in size, is located between three streets and bridges with a topographic height difference of about 6 m between the northern and southern streets. Accordingly, it was designed on three main levels, separated by dry construction stone terraces.

The garden restoration project included:
• Development and renewal works of the garden’s original structure, in which all the paths and terraces were restored. The terraces were originally built in local stone without bonding materials, a construction method typical to the agriculture in the surrounding mountain areas, almost unknown to today’s construction workers. During the work, the contractor learned the traditional agricultural methods of construction and taught them to the labor team. In dry construction, the entire retaining wall drains the water, allowing a constant movement of life from both sides. Over the years, the garden walls have become an ecological system of climatic conditions and life that maintains a constant, mutual relationship. A unique habitat for animals and local flora: reptiles, insects, and mammals find shelter in the rocks, and in early spring countless bulbs of cyclamen sprout between the stones. The preservation and restoration of the walls was a leading, high-value ecological factor in planning the garden, and served as a guideline throughout.
• Renewal of all the paths and their extensions
• Improved accessibility
• Preservation of all the trees and renewal of vegetation
• A renewed, unified signage system
• The addition of three new elements: a game space, a deck area next to the gardener’s shed, and an ecological pool

The garden plan:
The upper level – entering from the north gate towards an open area with a nice view towards the south, used in the initial years of the garden for formal events, receptions and Garden parties by the Jerusalem Municipality and British Mandate officials. Today, this area serves as the garden island, for all ages to rest, play and look over the garden spread out before it. The renewal included the addition of a large play area among some old Jerusalem pine trees on the eastern side of the upper level, and on the western side, the addition of a wooden deck around the historic gardener’s house, which today functions as public toilets and, in the future, will include a cafe for visitors of the garden.

The middle level – the heart of the garden, mostly an open lawn, which is used for playing sports, and for gatherings of all kinds, wrapped by winding paths connecting the different levels with seating areas.

The lower level – the less formal level, the works in which included the renewal of the original pergola structure and the vegetation around it. Between the sides of the pergola, instead of a rose bed that was very difficult to maintain in the local climate, we added an ecological pond, which was born from a memory of a small fishpond that was in the original garden and disappeared over the years. The pool is designed to augment the relaxed and unique experience of nature in the heart of the city, and to strengthen the connection and respect for the ecological environment. The entire garden is surrounded by a wall, providing a separation from the city, with two lockable gates.

The paved elements in the garden, including all paths and open spaces, are in concrete casting, with the addition of aggregates, a landscaping detail that visually recalls the gravel paths in the archival photos, but allows for maximum accessibility. Monolithic casting allows the paths and extensions to be detached from the stone walls and staircases, which are designated for preservation. This design decision made it easier for us planners, the consultants, the client, the contractor, and the workers to align around this principle and implement it in all stages of execution.

This method also obtains soft, organic lines that are true to the intention of the original planning and the nature of the garden. The paths enhance the experience of walking in the garden, and even when they are short and winding, they create attractive, intimate seating areas.

The rose garden is a remnant of a different type of garden plan, gardens that were intended not just for children, but for the entire community, with a wide range of uses. It is in this spirit that the conservation and renewal was conceived and executed.

Photo Credit: Yoav Peled

Architecture offices involved in the design: Tamar Koren Architects, Avner Ofek Conservation architect

Location: Dovnov St. 15, Jerusalem, Israel

Design year: 2018 – 2021

Year Completed: March 2024


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