Nes Harim, Israel
The project is a design for a public building in the community of Nes Harim located at the pastoral heart of Judean Mountains. The public building presents a fusion of sacred and secular and includes a synagogue, a multi-purpose hall, activity rooms and gardened outdoor areas for the use of the residents. In this way, the building is planned to be an active center during all hours and days of the week, and to produce a public and social center for the community.
The building is located at the entrance to the town and is situated on an elevated lot with sloping topography that allows extensive views to the west, all the way to the coastal plain. Maintaining these views was an integral part of the design principles of the building and characterized large and wide openings to the west. The form and volume of the building are also defined for this reason, and apart from the synagogue which produces a recognizable geometric pivot towards the direction of prayer, all other functions in the building receive an orientation that allows for maximum openness and views west towards the landscape.
At the same time, due to climatic considerations, it was important to minimize the amount of radiation and glare that large western openings can produce. Therefore, it was decided to create covered areas outside the public spaces, which on the one hand function as shading elements for the large openings, and on the other create enclosed spaces which provide pleasant and shaded seating areas facing the open landscape.
The communal importance of the building is also reflected in the internal design of the synagogue itself, which avoids the traditional hierarchical separation between men and women, but instead allows for a unique division that includes an area for men, women and families, all in one open and shared space. Outside the building, many open spaces have been designed for various activities as well as a large public courtyard with a west-facing orientation that allows for open-air events facing the panoramic view.
Lot Area: 3500 m2
Building Area: 800 m2