On the outskirts of Beer Sheva, where the city ends and the desert begins, is the site of a new building: Beit Halochem (Veterans’ Home). The scorching desert sun and the parched scenery served as inspiration. The structure was designed as an arrangement of “rock” like units grouped together. Between them a thin horizontal roof forms a courtyard – intimate, inviting and protected, to serve the functions of the building – a home for disabled veterans and their families.
While studying the various three-dimensional expanses, a unique relationship with the project emerged, based on relations between light and shadow, closed versus open, positive and negative. The bright sunlight makes it possible to achieve a three-dimensional richness by reflections from the rough frontal surfaces.
The “rocks” enclose rooms for private and more intimate functions, while in-between spaces serve as public areas in the building. Light bridges spanned over those areas enable passage between public spaces, which reinforces the ‘experience’ of the building for the users. In the private areas, thick walls provide climate protection, which is so essential in the Negev desert. In contrast, in the public areas the light roof that caps the building provides shade and protection of the interior regions, and also creates a variety of external spaces where it is pleasant to relax.
The building divides the site into new topographies. This allowed the design of two ground floors on two different levels, interlocking with each other, as an integral part of the building architecture. Thus achieving maximum accessibility as is appropriate for the special needs of users of the building.Location: Be’er Sheva, Israel Architect: Kimmel Eshkolot Architects Project name: Beit-Halochem
Completion date/design date: completed 2011, Designed 2008
Designer: Kimmel Eshkolot Architects
Location of the Architects: Israel
Photographer: Amit Giron
Site area:18,000 sqm
Construction area: 6,000 sqm
Award name: The Rechter Architecture prize
Award date: July 2011
Award description: The Rechter Prize is an Israeli architecture prize awarded bi-annually and intended to “encourage landmark projects of Israeli architecture”. It was established in 1962 and is being awarded by the Israeli Ministry of Culture.