Atarim Square

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Coordinates: 32°05′8″N 34°46′10″E / 32.08556°N 34.76944°E / 32.08556; 34.76944

Leonardo hotel
The rotunda "Colosseum Club"

The Atarim Square (Also known as Namir Square) is a complex of buildings and a public square designed by architect Yaakov Rechter. It reflects the style and is one of the highlights of brutalism in Israel. The complex of unusual sites is located near the beach in Tel Aviv over the Eliezer Peri Street and is connected to the promenade, to Sderot Ben-Gurion (Ben-Gurion Boulevard) and the Hayarkon Street. West of the square is the Gordon Pool.[1]

The sites multi-purpose structure was built on a number of levels, which exploited the difference in elevations between the cliff where the beach was. The lower level includes a parking lot and gas station. The level above includes a covered highway (Eliezer Peri Street). Two levels above sea level consists of indoor shops and the top level (roof structure) forms a square, including a number of restaurants, an amphitheater and a rotunda coated with glass (formerly known as Colosseum Club [2]). In the northern part of the square lies another building which includes the Marina Hotel and several floors of shops.


Before its construction, the neighborhood consisted of shacks and shanties. It was established as a temporary residence to Jewish refugees, forced to flee from Jaffa during the Jaffa riots of 1921 and for new immigrants. The beach neighborhood was subject to frequent winter flooding and high winds.

In the 1950s, evacuation of the neighborhood began. In the 1960s, the Tel Aviv municipality decided to develop the city's northern beaches, and to build modern hotels along the coast. It was decided to develop the square as a tourist center to connect the hotels, beaches and Sderot Ben-Gurion, and planned to include a main road parallel to the shore and parking lot. The center was planned by architect Yaakov Rechter.[3]

Construction begins[edit]

Construction began in 1971. The square was inaugurated in June 1975. In the early years the square was full of life: the curved concrete structure level extension department operated a branch of peace. Also two levels of shops and restaurants in the square were a success. The northern structure established duty-free stores for tourists. Follow one of the lower levels seagull theater. The building included a total of two hundred businesses.

Decline of the Square[edit]

In the late 1970s, the trend was reversed: criminal elements took over the shops, and where even the police station was established, the lower levels of shops were closed or gambling clubs. Residents and tourists began staying away, and the square began to be neglected. In 1982, the popular Colosseum nightclub, the largest club in Israel (and arguably the Middle East) was established, and operated until the late 1990s. However, it failed to prevent the square from declining further. During the Gulf War in 1991, Mayor Shlomo Lahat stated that he hoped a Scud missile would destroy the square.[4] Although the square had originally been named Namir Square, named after Mordechai Namir, Namir's widow, Ora Namir, requested that her late husband's name be withdrawn from the square and for him to be honored some other way after the square's decline. The former Haifa Road is now named for Namir.

Attempt at renovation[edit]

The municipality is trying to promote programs for years or even destruction of the square only to be renovated, but a tangle of legal problems preventing it. The essence of the problem is that the structure of the plaza is private ownership of dozens of property owners in the square (including part of the public areas), who are unable to cooperate in maintaining the square. Unlike malls, there is no square holding company and in fact there is no factor to manage and maintain it. Even the building materials, low quality of the square was built, as well as proximity to the sea, contributing to rapid wear of the square.

Current status[edit]

Today the square is almost deserted, crumbling, neglected, abandoned when most shops. However, recently began renovating the curve used by the Coliseum and watching the glass, and painted several buildings on the expansion as well as safety deficiencies were corrected in the square.

Nowadays, the site is considered one of the most unsuccessful projects built in Tel Aviv, together with the new Central Station project led to serious consequences as well. She is a symbol of its failure of the massive building concept of the next beach at the expense of saving the natural beach, and severing the city from the sea (now, after the enactment of the Law for the Protection of the Coastal Environment not have been possible construction of such project near the beach). This criticism was made even as the square was planned, especially the separation of Sderot Ben - Gurion sea. Richter's original design that actually connect the cord with the square so that the sea would see her, but due to constraints arising from the fact that the road underpass could not be below sea level, the square was elevated slightly but to such a degree sea view is blocked.


  1. ^ "A White Elephant From Outer Space in the Heart of Tel Aviv". Haaretz. 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  2. ^ "New Strip club to inject (night)life to blighted Square". Jpost. 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  3. ^ Hatuka, Tali; Kallus, Rachel (2007). "The myth of informal place-making: stitching and unstitching Atarim Square in Tel Aviv". The Journal of Architecture 12 (2): 147–164. doi:10.1080/13602360701363312. ISSN 1360-2365. 
  4. ^ Lior, Ilan (2012-08-22). "Tel Aviv Square Waiting for Renovations, or for Scuds". Haaretz. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 

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