Work on the renovation of Zion Square commenced on Tuesday after nearly two years since the plan was announced. The plaza will be inaccessible for several months as it undergoes its biggest change since 1983 when it was converted into a pedestrian promenade. Once completed, the square will offer a calmer, reflective aesthetic, while also being capable of hosting large events.
Signs that work was imminent became apparent last month when the popular concrete piano and I❤JLM sign were moved to different locations in the city. The square is now enveloped in a green barrier and the steps leading up to Bank Hapoalim have been demolished, soon to become an amphitheater. Also planned is the addition of 30 trees of varying species, more seating, and electrical outlets for phone charging.
The design, Urban Forest Clearing, is the product of the architectural trio of Maya Atidia, Maayan Tokkie-Carmel, and Tamir Manzur-Carmel. Their entry won a competition initiated by the municipality and Eden in 2016 to help promote the concept of tolerance. Despite the original plan calling for the square to be rededicated in honor of Shira Banki, a young girl who was murdered during the 2015 Pride Parade, the municipality is now stating that the square will keep its original name.
Zion Square was originally built by the British in 1924 to be used as a roundabout. It has since been at the forefront of many notable political demonstrations and terrorist attacks in Jerusalem’s history.
(Header Image by Yigal Tartakovsky)