Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HaYarkon 181

The above 9-floor building is known by the name of 'the crazy house'. The back of it looks as if covered with pieces of white sheets, the front resembles a persian carpet. I wouldn't call it 'crazy' ; 'unusual' seems to be a more appropriate word. Compared to the other buildings in the city , everything about it is unusual: its location - among ordinary buildings , the architecture - a mixture of Gaudi and Art Nouveau styles; the construction and decorating materials - a combination of natural elements such as wood, sand, limestone, shells, plants, and urban elements : metal, cement.

Anyway, it stands out in its surrounding; it can hardly be missed by the passers by. At the opposite side of the street, there's a bench (donated to the city by the entrepeneur) that matches the style of the building. The bench is a splendid idea; people can sit comfortably on it, and contemplate in wonder "the crazy house".

During the construction period 1982 -1985 ( it was ready to be inhabited only in 1989 as it took seven years to get all the necessary license documents !!) there was much controversy about this building project - people liked to hate it. It was not surprising; after all, people tend to dislike and even hate the unusual, the different, the alien. Besides, there was also the envy factor - not everyone could afford an appartment in such an exclusive building on the border line between the sea and the city, with both views - to the sea and to the city available.

After it became "fait accompli' , the locals got indifferent to it, whereas tourists found it a great object for photography. The area is frequented by tourists as it is close to the sea and there are many hotels , bars, travel agencies around, so this building became one of the city's touristic curiosities.

The 'crazy' house, designed by architect Leon Gnignebt , is situated at 181 Hayarkon street in Tel Aviv .The house is residential, not open to the public. To those interested in seeing the details of both the interior (with its wall paintings, sculptures, carpets etc..) and the exterior (including the roof, pool, garden, fence) of this odd piece of architecture , you could look for the video presenting the slideshow created by the tour- guide Henya Michelson. Even if the captions are in hebrew, still, it gives some pretty good idea of the building .


  1. Duta,

    While I would not wish to live there, I certainly appreciate the use of artistic design. The painting of the interior must have taken a legion of artists to complete. The use of so many different materials is interesting to say the least. I would think that this architect is, perhaps, an artist at heart--and modern at that!

    Thank you for once again sharing an interesting part of your world.

  2. Wow. That is definitely different. Even the inside is unique. I can see why it became a tourist attraction. It definitely catches your eye. I love the bench! Thanks for sharing the video also!
    until next time... nel

  3. My, the house sure looks different and unusual as you remarked. I liked the green that is seen in the front. Almost as if plants were part of the building.

    Your eye for objects and architecture is amazing.

    Joy always,

  4. I really like it. I like things that are a "wee" bit different, as long as they aren't too gawdy. Its a very interesting building and obviously a lot of time and effort went into creating such a buildiing.

  5. What an interesting post Duta! Photo #38 looks like a bee's honeycomb. I bet it would be fun to live there and explore all the different floors and the interior decor.

  6. Different is what it is! I would not want to live there, it would keep me up at night, trying to decide if there were hidden messages included! :)

  7. That is really the strangest building I have ever seen, but oddly beautiful. I could live there quite easily. It's a change from boring square angles. It has a warmth to it. Thanks for sharing it. :-)

  8. I like it, would have been great to have been part of the discussion as they were designing the building.

  9. I think it's great! I love all the nooks & crannies & how distinctive it is on the outside.

  10. Awesome building...ahead of its time.

  11. Duta I love it! I find "different" buildings, things & people so interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wow! The inside is as varied and intriguing as the outside. Maybe more so. The contemplation bench that was built in front is a splendid touch.

  13. C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    You've summed it well up in the first sentence of your comment: to live there - No; to appreciate the use of art - Yes. The architect is ,by the way, also a sculptor and a wood carver.


    I agree with your view. The overall building is different, the interior is unique.

    Susan Deborah,

    You've guessed correctly - the greenery is part of the building. Plants and bushes are well-rooted along the floors.


    I'm glad you do. Thanks for stopping by.


    Yes, it's different, but I wouldn't say it's too gawdy. Despite the "pieces of sheet" , it looks a solid building, and I like it too.


    It would indeed be fun and interesting to live there and explore the interior.
    By the way, slide 38 is the mini building as it is displayed at "Mini Israel" in Jerusalem.


    Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Dimple,

    I see what you mean. It's a bit scarry to live in such a complex sort of building. There are 11 appartments in the building.


    Finally, here's someone among the commenters who would like to really live in such an unusual building, saying "it has a warmth to it". Kudos to you Jo!


    Indeed, it would, but these discussions lasted a long time. It started in 1982 and it finally ended in 1989!

    The Bug,

    I too think it's great. It's not just a building , it's a piece of art.

    Janie B,

    Indeed "ahead of its time".

    Lisa Ptrarca,

    I believe you. I also find that 'difference' and 'variety' are interesting.

    Ronda Laveen,

    You've put it very nicely : "varied and intriguing". The bench is the cherry in the cake, and very appreciated by visitors.

  15. Wow fantastic and very unique design.
    Cool interior. I like the wrought iron and sculpture.
    Great captures Duta!
    Thank you for sharing.

  16. I like very much architecture.
    At first sight this building is very bizzare. I'm convinced that if this building would be located in another area would not seem so strange.

  17. Wow, I do see why it got that label. But as strange as it is, I rather like the uniqueness. Stands out like a poppy in a desert. Thanks for the great pics and history, Duta!

  18. Interesting! It is a piece of functional art...In Canada we have a TV show called Extreme Homes..this would be an excellent candidate for a feature!

  19. LOL Looks as if someone was smoking wakky weed when they designed this outlandish building. The objective was to incorporate all angles and designs known to mankind. I think they may have accomplished the task. LOL Peace

  20. I am guessing the architect intended to stir the pot when he came up with the concept and the people who paid for the building must have loved it. It did what people like Rush Limbaugh does to get attention.

  21. Regina,

    The entrepeneur's wife , Shulamit Bolog, an artist, was responsible for many of the interior's art work - and the outcome is really unique.( By the way, their appartment is the only one in the building that has no view to the sea).


    Good for you; architecture is an academic discipline that widens one's horizons.
    I would say that this building in a row with other 9-floor buildings will probably stand out less and look less bizarre.


    The building is 'strange' but in a good sense of the word. I like your comparison " like a poppy in the desert".


    I agree with your definition = "..a piece of functional art".
    I've seen slideshows featuring the 50 most unusual buildings in the world. In one of them (by an israeli of course)this building is also displayed.

    Lady Di Tn,

    I like your clever words.." the objective was to incorporate all the angles and designs known to mankind". Peace.

    Abraham Lincoln,

    You may be right on that. People want to get attention and if they have money they'll easily find a way.

    One Fly,

    Yes, it is fun stuff. Thanks for stopping by. By the way, I like your username.

  22. It's because I only fish with one certain fly Duta. It's a spoof on the rich who think they need hundreds or thousands of $'s worth of equipment to catch a damn trout.

  23. 良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。.................................................................                           

  24. Wow, Duta...that's some building. I would not like to live across the street from it but I think it is something to see. When I come to Israel this October I will have my friend take me to see it in person :)
    Hugs, Duta :)
    Always a treat to visit you!

  25. Thanks for your visit to my blog. I thought the building was perhaps being "fixed." Very interesting to think it's made that way.

  26. I think the front of the building is lovely, - very poetic and creative. But the back side of the house I did not like at all - very unlovely in terms of artistic flow. But then this building would have something for everyone, so perhaps that was the intent. Interesting post as ever, Duta, and well done you.

  27. One Fly,

    Thanks for the explanation; it makes sense.

    *** said..,

    Thank you for stopping by.

    The ChickGeek,

    Hi Kelly,
    It's not the only one strange building in Israel, there are some more. As you say - I wouldn't like to live in such a building, but it's interesting to look at.

    Gutsy writer,

    Welcome! The building is interesting anyway one thinks of it.


    "...something for everyone". I agree with you on that, and on the loveliness of the facade.

  28. You're right that it evokes Gaudi. And just like with a Gaudi, I respond more to the interiors and the architectual details than to the broad exterior lines. I love the small places to sit and converse in an ambience of freeform playfulness. Think how that might inspire the conversation to go in directions that it would never go in a more formal or efficient setting. Form follows function? Bah, humbug!

  29. TallTchr,

    Thank you for your beautiful comment.
    I believe in every word of it, as I know from your blog that you're a real connoisseur of art&architecture including, I suppose, the art of conversation. I love small spaces too.

  30. 一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼....................................................................

  31. ***said...
    Thank you for stopping by.

  32. Phivos Nicolaides,

    Yes, the unusual is usually interesting. Thank you for your comment.

  33. duta,
    you always present something different...
    this time it is really amazing...

  34. jyothisethu,

    Thank you. I'm glad you think so. After all, you are an artist, and a good one. Coming from you, that's a big compliment.