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NS Residence

Blatman Cohen Architecture Design

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Text by Katie Gerfen

A rough-hewn concrete wall and a glimpse of a burnt-cedar-clad volume beyond are the only pieces of the NS Residence in Emek Hefer, Israel, that are visible from the street. But move past the steel gate, and an outdoor-entertaining paradise is revealed. The client’s love of spending time in the arid climate of this seaside region was the primary driver of the scheme developed by Mishmeret, Israel–based Blatman Cohen Architecture Design, which includes a verdant front garden complete with a swimming pool and outdoor kitchen.

The 4,844-square-foot, two-story residence is a barlike volume, flanked on its south side by a wood-slat-clad pergola that shelters outdoor seating and dining areas. The slats continue indoors, lining the ceiling of the open-plan ground floor, which contains a kitchen as well as dining and living areas. The wood is offset by glazed walls that visually (and, in the case of some operable panels, physically) open the room to the outdoors, answering the client’s request for “a very open house, with simple geometries,” says principal Vered Blatman Cohen. The bridge-like second-floor volume is supported on concrete walls at the short ends.

Throughout the house, Blatman Cohen wanted the materials to be “as raw as possible,” and gravitated toward surfaces with natural textures, such as uncut basalt slabs for the entry pathway, stone and wood floors, and marble counters. A steel staircase leads to the second-floor landing, where diffuse northern light from clerestories washes a blank concrete wall. The bedroom and bathroom doors on this level are flush with the white-painted walls, to the point of almost disappearing into them. When closed, they provide an effect Blatman Cohen describes as “a total contrast to the very open lower level.” The four bedrooms all face north, away from the garden, in order to capture views of the sea. The southern façade of the second level is blank, helping to reduce heat gain in the bedrooms and stairwell, and providing a visual contrast to the openness of the façade on the lower level.

That strong southerly sun was a key factor in placing the outdoor amenities in front of the house instead of behind it, farther from the street. “Usually, you would put the house in the front of the lot, and then the garden behind, and here it was the opposite,” Blatman Cohen says. But the client “wanted the pool on the south side, which is very warm, so the water will be very nice to be in.”

A small backyard that runs along the north side of the house was designed as a play area for the children. And because of the transparency of the ground floor, their parents can keep an eye on them from virtually anywhere on the property, proving that maximum transparency can be found even in concrete-walled packages.

Project Credits

Project: NS Residence, Emek Hefer, Israel
Client: Withheld
Architects: Blatman Cohen Architecture Design, Mishmeret, Israel—Vered Blatman Cohen (principal)
Engineer: Shmuel Penet
Management and Supervision: Yehuda Zimbris
Size: 450 square meters (4,844 square feet)

Cost: Withheld

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