Tropical weather and its relationship with urban planning

Tel Aviv was a tropical city and this distinctive climatic characteristic was taken into account by Geddes when he planned the city and also the Bauhaus architects who designed individual houses.

The first official urban plan of Tel Aviv was proposed by Patrick Geddes in 1925. The plan was implemented in the 1930s and it determined much of the city’s urban structure until today. Outdoor microclimate and the design of the built environment are closely-related and can affect each other.

 

Mean hourly outdoor temperature for 12 months periods in Tel Aviv, from 2000 to 2009
Mean hourly outdoor temperature for 12 months periods in Tel Aviv, from 2000 to 2009 ©Gillette,2010
ap of Tel-Aviv and the Geddes Plan area.
Map of Tel-Aviv and the Geddes Plan area. ©Gillette,2010

To reduce thermal stress at street-level which was pedestrian-oriented instead of vehicle-oriented, shading was a significant factor. The North-South street axis invented by Geddes was therefore better suited to the climate conditions than East-West street axis.

On the other hand, one important element of Garden City in the Europe – plenty of green, was restricted in Tel Aviv because greenery was hardly maintained under such unfavourable weather.

Bauhaus architects also took the geographical criteria into consideration when they designed housing with European style as the basis. Due to a difference of climate condition between the two areas, the buildings in Tel Aviv were amended so as to avoid heat as much as possible:

– White and light-color facade to reflect heat
– Small recessed windows replacing large glass
– Protruding slabs and balconies to provide shade for windows
– Flat roofs replacing slanted ones
– Houses raised on piloties to allow sea breeze to flow and cool them

Additional canopy added to prevent overheat of the house
Additional canopy added to prevent overheat of the house ©Gillette,2010
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Vertical slats capture the ocean breeze and provide shade ©Gillette,2010

Reference:

  1. Gillette, Howard. Civitas by Design Building Better Communities, from the Garden City to the New Urbanism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.
  2. Harpaz, Nathan. Zionist Architecture and Town Planning: The Building of Tel Aviv (1919-1929).
  3. R, Joachim. Tel Aviv: From Dream to City. London: Reaktion Books, 1999.
  4. Noah Hysler Rubin.The celebration, condemnation and reinterpretation of the Geddes plan, 1925: the dynamic planning history of Tel Aviv.Urban History, 40, pp 114-135. 2013

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