Domestic violence refuge, Tel Aviv

Amos Goldreich Architecture with Jacobs-Yaniv Architects, Tel Aviv, 2017

 

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The constructional build-up and detailing used included RC in-situ concrete slabs and a mixture of RC and concrete blocks for the walls 

Amin Geron     Download Original

  • The constructional build-up and detailing used included RC in-situ concrete slabs and a mixture of RC and concrete blocks for the walls    
  • Externally, the walls are clad in silicate bricks, which are produced locally    
  • The bricks were chosen for their durability, accuracy and uniform appearance    
  • The brief called for a low-maintenance building    
  • The inner courtyard functions as the shelter’s ‘therapeutic heart’    
  • The weather in central Israel is such that in the summer temperatures can reach the high 30s (Celsius)    
  • The semi-shaded courtyard    
  • On sunny days with blue skies, the corridor fills with sunlight from the courtyard    
  • The shelter protects women from the abusive environment outside    
  • The shelter is designed to house 12 families, each consisting of one woman and her children    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Roof floor plan    
  • Sections    
  • Building envelope detail sections    

With slender funds and in the teeth of local opposition, a London-based architect has created the No To Violence refuge in a suburb of Tel Aviv.

The shelter is built as a protective home for women who are in immediate physical danger. Since the women spend a significant amount of time within the house, the architects’ first challenge was to design a space that is secure, spacious, and doesn’t create a feeling of incarceration. For this reason nearly half of the site’s 1,600m2 is open space and located in the centre of the plot, while the facilities – housing units, communal dining room, kitchen, nursery, common room, and laundry facilities – are located in the perimeter. This configuration creates an inner courtyard that functions, according to architect Amos Goldreich, as the shelter’s ‘therapeutic heart’.

The shelter is designed to house 12 families, each consisting of one woman and her children. Every family is housed in its own unit and every two units share a shower and toilet. These individual ‘family homes’ are stacked diagonally in an L-shape separated from the inner courtyard by an encircling corridor, which is lined on its outside edge by strip windows that allow cross-ventilation and penetration of light. Across this elongated space, ‘sitting corners’ are spread to create spaces for small gatherings. The shelter will absorb families from all sectors of Israeli society: Jews, Arabs, Ethiopian, Russian and Ukrainian. 

While the shelter indeed protects women from the abusive environment outside, its construction drew forth a new antagonist: the neighbours. Since the inception of the project in 2009, residents of this pristine suburb of Tel Aviv – where the charity was provided with a plot from the municipality – strongly objected to the erection of the shelter. The nimbyism carried on for six years and resulted in three trials (including one in the High Court). The courts ruled consistently in favour of the charity. 

The architect was faced with the challenge of a very tight budget from the outset, as well as a brief that called for a low-maintenance building, robust enough to withstand weathering and potential misuse. These criteria had to be addressed in the choice of materials and detailing. 

The weather in central Israel is such that in the summer temperatures can reach the high 30s (Celsius), dropping to mid-20s during the night, usually with high humidity, whereas in the winter temperature can vary significantly between day and night. Thermal mass construction is therefore the most commonly used and cost-effective route. 

The constructional build-up and detailing used included RC in-situ concrete slabs and a mixture of RC and concrete blocks for the walls. Externally, the walls are clad in silicate bricks, which are produced locally. They were chosen for their durability, accuracy and uniform appearance, the latter being more suitable for the location of the building. All the AC ducting to the rooms is located on the roof to allow for a maximum internal head room without any compromise on comfort and the use of the spaces.

Data

  • Begun: Jul 2015
  • Completed: Nov 2017
  • Floor area: 880m2
  • Sectors: Residential, Healthcare
  • Total cost: £1.5M
  • Address: Tel Aviv, Israel

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