LAGUR Content Manager Ranit Nahum-HaLevi goes into detail about a project that will change one of the most recognizable features in Tel Aviv. Yesterday, Dizengoff Square’s Fire and Water fountain was temporarily relocated to the Reading Station complex as part of the project to restore the square’s altitude to street level.

Watch: Tel Aviv’s 60 million NIS project (video credit: Guy Yechiely, Yoav Shapiro, Albatross)

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Yesterday, one of Tel Aviv’s defining moments took place: the municipality disconnected the main fountain in Dizengoff Square. The move included the dismantling of the exterior portion of the fountain, a work by artist Yaacov Agam called Fire and Water, and its temporary relocation to the Reading Station complex.

The preparatory work that was done before yesterday was part of a larger initiative by the municipality to lower Dizengoff Square, thereby restoring its altitude to street level. The work involved demolishing the elevated square and reconstructing it as an open, green urban space. The work is expected to continue through 2017, subject to approval from the Transportation Ministry; the project cost is estimated at 60 million NIS.

Last night in Tel Aviv

Last night in Tel Aviv Photo Credit: Albatross/Channel 2 News

Dizengoff Square is identifiable mainly by the presence of the Fire and Water fountain. It is one of Agam’s most famous works, the one via which he gained international renown. The fountain was installed at the center of the square in 1986 and still constitutes one of Tel Aviv’s most recognizable symbols. The fountain consists of several ridged circles designed with various colorful geometric shapes and contains an automatic mechanism that at various parts of the day and night, rotates the circles, sending streams of water in the air in many shapes, spits fire upward and plays music. During a 2011 renovation, the fountain was repainted, although the circles no longer spin.

The square-lowering project also includes the replacement of all the subterranean infrastructure, reworked plumbing and sewage lines, the installation of new lighting across the square, road repair on surrounding thoroughfares, the expansion of nearby sidewalks, the reinstallation of the Agam sculpture and the creation of a bicycle path.

The work will take place in several stages, for each of which residents and business owners in the area will receive an update. Stage 1 will involve the work to lower the square level itself. Stage 2 will see the relocation of the sculpture, which occurred yesterday. The actual demolition of the square will take place in January 2017 and is expected to take ten days. During this stage, the area will be closed to traffic for about 2 weeks while pedestrian access to homes and businesses will be maintained.

Stage 3, the final stage, will include construction of the new square and installation of infrastructure. This stage is expected to begin in January 2017 and extend for one year. During that time, regular traffic routes will operate as before and safe, convenient pedestrian access to local businesses will similarly remain.

Dizengoff Square, 1959

Dizengoff Square, 1959 Photo Credit: Tel Aviv Municipality

The Dizengoff Square upgrade project is contracted to the Ahuzot Hof Company by the Tel Aviv Municipality.

Apartments on Dizengoff Square area currently sell for an average rate of NIS 45,000 per m². The renovation will result in better traffic flow, exits from coffee shops into the square and the creation of a larger public space. Therefore, it is probable that property values in the area will rise by a conservative 5%.

To contact Ranit Nachum Halevi, click here