at ZeZeZe Gallery, Tel-Aviv
First House - Young Architects and Designers Building in Israel showcases the works of close to 100 architects and designers under the age of 40 working in Israel. The 154 projects presented consist of built projects or projects in various stages of construction, as well as winning proposals in architectural competitions.
Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines young as 'being in the first or an early stage of life, growth, or development'. Yet, while all of the participants in this exhibition belong to a certain age group, the works presented range from first projects to the works of designers and practices with more than a decade of practical experience. The variety in projects, programs, aesthetic and design agendas represent various approaches towards shaping our built environment. And more importantly, they represent an perception of design which is by no means 'young'.
It is perhaps interesting to relate the history - if one can term 'history' a period spanning 5 weeks - of this exhibition. The initial idea, of presenting the works of a younger generation of designers, is nothing new, nor was the modest goal of presenting 40 works exceptional. Between the initial call for projects and the submission deadline, a period of 12 days, brought about a flood of submissions, calls, e-mails and questions, a lot of enthusiasm and positive responses, and the exhibition quickly grew to its final size, above and beyond our most optimistic expectations.
The question begs to be asked, why?
Perhaps the obvious answer would be to attribute it all to the generally-accepted hardships facing any young architect or designer in today's environment, and the ever-growing need to present one's work in order to further one's practice. And there is of course some truth there. But that would be, in our opinion, to miss the main point.
And that is the basic fact that there is a younger generation of designers and architects succeeding in what they do, proud in the fruits of their work and happy to present them to the review of their peers and the general public. We present almost 100 such practices, and there are in fact many more. True, some of them will not survive the hardships of a demanding and competitive field, but many of them will. Some of them already enjoy a central influence in our local scene. And some will become pillars of our architecture and design worlds, as have those young architects of twenty and thirty years ago - after all, everyone must have been 'young' at some point.