|M.Sc Student||Negrin Chocron Yardena|
|Subject||The Kibbutz - A Local Landscape|
The Design of the Kibbutz Landscape using Native
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Professor Elissa Rosenberg|
|Professor Iris Aravot|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
In the Israeli imagination, the image of the kibbutz landscape is a green paradise, composed of endless lawns and subtropical vegetation. Despite the widespread use of exotic flora in the kibbutz, during the 1930s to 1950s a group of landscape architects and gardeners challenged the dominance of introduced species and sought to incorporate native Mediterranean vegetation into the design of the kibbutz landscape.
This research examines the debate over the use of native versus exotic vegetation that raged in the professional literature from the mid-1940s and through the 1950s and traces an alternative approach to the design of the kibbutz landscape that developed based on the use of native vegetation. The landscape architects and gardeners who adopted this approach claimed that native Mediterranean flora had a unique beauty. It expressed the character of the local landscape, and established a clear connection to the homeland. Native vegetation also was better adapted to local conditions and thus was more likely to survive.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the origins and the development of this alternate approach to the design of the kibbutz landscape based on the use of native vegetation. The research addresses the following question: How did landscape architects and gardeners use native flora to create a new approach to the design of the kibbutz landscape?
This use of native vegetation developed, in part, due to the unique relationship that existed between landscape architects and the kibbutz gardeners, whose practical experience from the field was a necessary complement to the professional work of the landscape architects. The gardeners provided an important link between the landscape architect, the workers and the physical landscape. It was often the gardeners who identified the local species and successfully collected seeds and propagated plants from the wild. This work was essential given the lack of nursery-grown stock of native plants.
Four kibbutzim serve as case studies: Allonim, Hazorea, Dalia and Yehiam. They are analyzed according to the following: the inclusion of native vegetation in relation to the local context, the design approach and working method of the landscape architect to the kibbutz gardener, and their collaborative relationship. The research is based on an analysis of historical gardening journals (1930-1950) and archival research in the four kibbutzim. In addition, interviews were conducted with veteran gardeners and kibbutz members to supplement the written record.
This study of the use of native vegetation on the kibbutz adds a new perspective to a growing body of knowledge on kibbutz planning, documenting alternative approaches to the design of the kibbutz landscape.