Planning and design: Dan and Hilla Israelevitz – Israelevitz Architects
Photography: Amit Geron
The family who built this home wanted to create a relaxing, embracing environment which, while providing a view to the surrounding green, pastoral landscapes, manages to maintain a sense of privacy. The result – an impressive architectonic structure in which both demands were perfectly combined and met, enabling all family members to enjoy all aspects of their vision.
The house, which is located in the northern part of Israel, is built on about 10000 square meters land, 3000 out of which has been processed for construction (the rest being agricultural land). The built area of the house spans across an area of about 500 m2 and includes 7 rooms.
The property includes a tennis court, along with an orchard and a fruit garden which blend well with their natural environment. The L- shaped structure of the building enables Dynamism and creates separation between wings. The large, lush courtyards which separate between the entrance lobbies and the house itself create an interesting play on space and dimension.
There is a complete and hermetic bond between the interior space and the exterior of this home – while its wings are exposed to the outside landscape, natural light and fresh air, they are also capable of creating an embracing and intimate space. The facade and interior parts of the house feature ecological elements and various built-in solutions, designed to reduce electricity consumption.
Thus, for example, the wide shading pergolas were designed according to the solar position from sunrise to sunset. Natural construction materials and other materials featuring natural looks (such as concrete, iron, glass and teak wood) were combined to create a clean and elegant look.
The horizontal terrain rendered it vital to maintain a connection between the building and its low surroundings. This was achieved by designing a flat structure. In practice, the structure blends well with its surroundings, enabling an independent connection between its exterior and interior at almost any angle and corner.
The design was based on the concept of creating an element of surprise and curiosity within the space: this house does not reveal itself at once, but rather does so in a gradual manner. Upon entering the property, we are greeted by an atmospheric garden which can be seen through the house, but for those who approach it from the outside, still remains hidden behind decorative grille walls, which play a functional, as well as an equally decorative role.
The structure is divided to 2 perpendicular wings: the first is shared, while the second is private. Most areas share a view to the external space. To enhance the experience while making efficient use of the property, we chose to embed patios and various small gardens within the structure.
The view from these elements can be also enjoyed from inside the house. The structure can be somewhat compared to a swiss cheese that hides these elements within its “eyes”. For instance, the entrance lobby leads to a garden, while the front facade is in fact a grille wall made out of teak wood that hides all that occurs behind it.
The front facades of the house feature a precise geometrical design – it’s precision manifesting itself in plan as well as in execution. The dominant materials are concrete, glass and teak wood grills which break the massive look achieved by black steel columns and concrete, to create a colorful contrast and a characteristic rhythm that balance the overall structure volume.
Among all these, the steel columns and concrete are used to separate a grille pergola, which adds interest and an additional visual element, and serves to “lighten up” the massive structure.
Constructed gates which serve as peering slits lead to the front door, creating order and organization at the entrance while creating a dramatic experience when approaching the door. The asymmetrically placed stepping stones provide a natural look.
The 3 meter wide steel front door is made with a matte finish. Having the dining and living room on one side and the kitchen on the other, this door also serves to separate between the various areas within the shared space.
The view which reveals itself at the entrance is that of the front garden. This is a hosting area which fully unfolds itself, allowing those who stand in the shared area to experience the exterior space along with the interior of the house, providing a simultaneous view of the indoor and outdoor sitting areas, kitchen and infinity pool.
This is an underlying theme which occurs throughout the house. It provides an experience of being in an almost infinite and dynamic space that changes itself with every movement of light and change of season.
The ceiling of this house is not particularly high, reaching to a height of mere 3 meters. This was deliberately done in order to maintain correct proportions between the building and its surrounding terrain. Generally speaking, the architectural approach of the couple favors lower spaces, as they maintain a sense of intimacy.
A sense of openness and fluidity is in turn achieved through airy glass facades. Thus, the living room enjoys a bidirectional airflow, obtained through oversized vitrine windows.
The couple chose to work with thin aluminum profiles and Minimal Glass, thus creating undelimited, larger window panels which blend the boundaries of interior and exterior space in an optimal manner. Most spaces open up to internal courtyards, which are enclosed within the residential environment of the house.
These courtyards are invisible from all other parts of the house and its surrounding environment. The vitrines in each room open up toa private courtyard and create a private outdoor space for the bedrooms. Similarly, the corridor to the kids’ rooms features a glass panel which opens up to an inner courtyard that’s also connected to the living room on the perpendicular wing.
The guest bathroom also enjoys a glass facade, which opens up to a pastoral inner patio. The patio features natural gardening and is separated from the rest of the property by grilles and a pivot gate through which a gardener can enter to tend the garden.