With recent hurricanes in the Bahamas and forest fires in the Amazon, Siberia and Indonesia, one may find something of a haven in “Solar Guerrilla: Constructive Response to Climate Change,” the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s design-heavy exhibit about sustainable living running from July through February 2020.
The exhibit is administered by Maya Vinitsky, an associate curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the museum, who was responsible for the museum’s last environmental show in 2017, “3.5 Square Meters: Constructive Responses to Natural Disasters.”
“We wanted to tie this exploration to things that are visual, colorful and even tactile,” said Vinitsky. “Whoever comes to the museum, to this exhibit, will hopefully see things that will make them think more, and become more active.”
Much of what is on display in “Solar Guerrilla” was created by architects, landscape designers and industrial designers from all over the world, looking at a wide range of responses to climate change.
Set in the spacious one-room Marcus B. Mizne Gallery in the museum’s main building, the exhibit features 36 projects divided among six themes: 1.5 to 2 Degrees Celsius, Solarpunk, Sponge City, Anti-Smog, Sunroof, and Passive House.
The range of the exhibit’s topics and exhibits offer an indication of which countries are more developed with regard to sustainable living, said Vinitsky, and generally display “multi-solving,” as there is no one solution to any specific problem.
Her previous exhibit about responses to natural disasters highlighted the fact that disasters are brief but hold long-lasting effects. Climate change, meanwhile, is generally measured over a great time scale of 30 to 40 years, pointed out Vinitsky.
“The changes are measured along all those decades,” she said. “It’s hard to grasp. We’re trying to clarify all of this, seeing what it means and what kind of impact it has.”
Visitors to the exhibit are first met with some explanations about climate change, including a clip from Al Gore’s new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” and other clips and podcasts by researchers explaining the Paris Agreement, before moving on to the tactile and visual displays, which offer plenty of interest for younger viewers as well.
One of the more touch-friendly exhibits is Terraform, an interactive round sandbox table displaying the topography of a mountain range and water reflected upon mounds of sand. Visitors are encouraged to shift the soft sand with their hands, illustrating how the mountains, hills and waters change with human intervention.
The Sponge City section looks at uses for excessive rain and flooding, with examples from Copenhagen, New York and Shanghai. Plans in those cities have sidewalks, car garages and parks built to absorb increased rainwater and channel it to support parks and nature — a win-win, said Vinitsky.
Israeli ingenuity is present as well with Watergenerator: Moisture Harvester, a Rishon Lezion company that takes humidity and turns it into potable water in a large, fountain-like mechanism — essential for countries that struggle to provide enough clean drinking water.
There’s also Eco Wave Power, a Tel Aviv company that taps the energy of waves and the sea to provide clean electricity. It operates in the Jaffa port, and the current plan is to connect it to Tel Aviv’s electric grid in November.
The Solarpunk section of the exhibit includes a look at Vegetal City, fantastical designs by Brussels architect Luc Schuiten who creates models of buildings and cities made entirely from vegetation. His model of a house built from tree branches is set up across the way from videos of Singapore’s ParkRoyal, a high-rise building that folds 3.7 acres of green space into a hotel and offices, as well as SkyVille, a 960-apartment complex that supports community living with vertical parks and water elements.
Another Israeli innovation represented in the Solarpunk section is Solar Edge, which uses virtual reality screens to show how solar panels on the roofs of homes, multi-use buildings and plants harness the electrical power of the sun.
Over in the Smog section are explanations of rooftop green space projects in Chicago, an Italian high-rise development that battles smog with a vertical forest, and the Smog-Free Project from Rotterdam, which builds smog-eating towers, jewelry and bicycles that help filter the air.
The Passive House examples include Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, with models and photographs of the planned completely sustainable city built in the desert, along with its own fleet of battery-operated autonomous vehicles used exclusively in the town. One of the futuristic vehicles is on display in the gallery.
Passive House also offers a look at BedZED, a large-scale sustainable community built in Wellington, UK, that is Britain’s first of its kind, a kibbutz of sorts, said Vinitsky, with 100 homes, offices and a college.
A model of the Check Point company building in Tel Aviv is also included in the Passive House section, displaying a project that covers 3.7 acres and integrates new and old buildings as well as green walls and spaces in its configuration.
The exhibit ends with a look at the vision for the so-called Northwest District (3700) in northwest Tel Aviv, where there are plans to create a sustainable neighborhood in a 494-acre reserve along the coast.