Tel Aviv Dolphinarium - The End!

Tuesday, May 15th 2018, will be Tel-Aviv's Dolphinarium last day. Today it's being demolished and will turn into public multi-use space.

Architect Nahum Zolotov came up with the idea to build the Dolphinarium in the mid-1970s. In addition to working as an architect, he took up diving as a hobby, and thought of opening an aquarium for educational purposes in Israel. He looked for partners and found businessman Zvi Efron, whom managed to attract Jewish investors from South Africa, following an agreement signed between their government and the Israeli government that allowed them to transfer money to Israel for investing in tourism and industrial ventures.

The site found was on the southern end of the Tel Aviv shore, north of the Manshia neighborhood that was buried under the grassy hills of the Charles Clore Park. The Tel Aviv municipality still dreamed then of setting up a major commercial center along the shore, and the Dolphinarium was to be an important link in the local leisure and entertainment chain. Unlike aquariums around the world, Efron and Zolotov thought of building a mixed-use underwater amusement park: an aquarium for educational purposes, an arena for shows featuring dolphins and sea lions, stores to help increase the flow of visitors, and restaurants that faced the park. The location between Tel Aviv and Jaffa was a further attraction for both Israelis and foreign tourists.

From an architectural perspective, the Dolphinarium belongs to the late end of Israeli modernism, on the edge of post-modernism. Zolotov, who became widely known following projects such as Be'er Sheva's Hashatiah housing complex and the Super-sol Tower on Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, replaced rigid lines with a curving and poetic language, but remained loyal to exposed concrete.

(Taken from "Haaretz" English edition)