View from the valley. Photo: Ardon Bar-hama
Street in Mamilla. Photo: Ardon Bar-hama
Mamilla Project. Photo: Ardon Bar-hama

Located just outside of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Mamilla area first developed at the turn of the century, as urbanization moved beyond the enclosure of the walls into the renowned Valley of Hinom.  Mamilla Street was a main thoroughfare, which served as the seam between the traditional fabric of the Old City and the more modern, western part of the city.  From 1948 to 1967, Mamilla was the unofficial “border” dividing Jordan and Israel.  The current Master Plan seeks to reverse the historic role of separation and to establish the site as an integral link  that connects the Arab and Jewish sectors and forms a bridge from Jaffa Gate to the east through the historical Mamilla Street to the heart of downtown Jerusalem to the west.

The project is a 200,000 square meter mixed-use development of commercial areas, offices, hotels, residential units, parking facilities and public spaces.  The urban structure is designed to cascade from eight stories at the connection to the new city at King David Street, to single storey buildings along the National Park at the foot of Jaffa Gate.  The descending masses open up to view the David’s Citadel and the Old City walls and enhance the natural topography of the Hinom Valley and define the surrounding “green belt” of the National Park.

The southern section of Mamilla was completed in 1996 and is comprised of luxury residential units known as David’s Village.  The urban design generates units which terrace towards the valley road and incorporate modern GRFP domes to echo the traditional forms of the Old City and provide the residences with magnificent views.  The eight storey horseshoe shape of the David Citadel Hotel is designed like the great opera houses, utilizing the guestroom balconies to form “box seats” looking onto the “stage” of the Old City and David’s Citadel. Nestled below the Jaffa Gate, the naturally lit Parking Facility for private vehicles and buses is hidden by landscaped olive groove terraces, creating a green podium and completing the green belt along the old city walls.

The original Mamilla Road has been preserved and designed as a commercial and pedestrian shopping street.  A rich mixture of new, preserved, and restored buildings and shop fronts enclose the narrow Mamilla shopping street.  The two-level southern shopping arcade is connected via visually transparent  steel bridges to the northern restored buildings,  providing an upper shopping promenade with roofs terraces overlooking the activity of urban street life.