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  • Malki Kessler

Underground Jerusalem

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Malki Kessler


Looking at the current reality of living in underground parking garages, the project offers prospective thinking on quality residential solution in the subterranean area of Jerusalem’s Romema neighborhood.

Jerusalem, 2018. Hundreds of illegal apartments are popping up all over the city – a temporary fix for couples who want to live near their parents. While this may look like a poor solution, it is in fact an appropriate answer to land shortage and urban crowding, which calls for contemporary creativity by using new technologies.

Underground Jerusalem, proposed in this project, already lives and breathes underground. Now, it is up to us to decide how we want to address it. This project does not wish to go against the phenomenon, but rather to leverage it in an intelligent manner that enables quality of life.

Jerusalem’s Romema neighborhood is perhaps the most extreme example of this phenomenon. It is currently undergoing a rezoning from an industrial into a residential neighborhood. Due to population growth, the neighborhood suffers from a severe shortage of public space and public institutions.

This project offers an underground urban space (from Yirmiyahu–Shamgar junction to Wadi Romema), by integrating the existing residential layout in a newly multi-purpose layout of an inner street containing residential, commercial, and public spaces. The areas where its interface merges with the existing street level serve as significant public open spaces. At the residential units level, it offers a design of an underground system capable of absorbing light and air by using mirrors, water pools, and optical fibers.

Originating in a problem that challenges us, the project addresses a not so distant future. If we will be able to use autonomous cars and robots, what stops us from taking advantage of the most accessible resource we have – the earth?