House in Wahat Elsalam (Neve Shalom)

HOUSE in Wahat Elsalam (Neve Shalom)


Located adjacent to the Trappist Monastery in Latrun, the settlement Neve Shalom was established in 1972. The idea of the Head of the Trappist Monastery Paul Bruno, who donated the land, was to create an antithesis to the local conflict by providing a place in which Jews and Arabs could continually interact. Today, following thirty years of experience, about forty Jewish and Arab families live side by side. Although the separate ethnic groups maintain their identity, the desire for harmonious living with nature is still expressed in most of the houses.

            The house presented here is an extreme example of a master plan whose structure is limited to only one story above the ground. The visual presence in the urban structure of the exterior walls of the house is minimized as, contrary to most situations, they do not function as the walls of the main street. The horizontal façade consists of an entrance that resembles that of a cave. The inside of the building is only partially revealed through small slits above the ground.


            As any cubist creation in which each of its organs appears to have its own separate existence, this house has no defined borders. The house gives the impression of a pile of materials (some even uncultivated) displayed on the site. The materials used - their coarseness, their colors, their degree of transparency - are words of a unique planning language which inevitably must be voiced. An irregular ornamentation - sometimes cacophonous - most strident at the meeting points is consequently formed. The ornamentation does not conceal the declared intention of the architect to expose his work to criticism. 'This building is open to criticism. The intention was to create a place, not a home. The spatial relations express the interactions between the family members.'


            The particular positioning of the building on its site and its relation to the landscape allows each space a distinctive appearance. The changes in light grant every room a sense of time - the sunrise, the sunset and all that is in between. It is logical to believe the experimental materials will mature in harmony with the nature surrounding it.


Architect: Senan Abdelkader.


חזרה לגליון 52    back to issue 52