The Corten House
Location: Savyon, Tel Aviv, Israel
Site area: 1700 sqm
Total floor area: 450 sqm
Program: Single family house
Architects: Pitsou Kedem Architects
Design Team: Pitsou Kedem, Irene Goldberg, Hila Sella
Photographs: Amit Geron
Styling for photography: Eti Buskila and Irene Goldberg
The mashrabiya is made of Corten steel boards, which has given the Corten home its name. Made in the style of mashrabiya designed to trick, hide and confuse – it is used as a means to obscure the protagonist of the story – located at the thin seam between modern sculpture and architecture – the unknown, the void.
Modernist sculpture is not some puerile impulse to observe a beautiful object but rather the desire to experience expansion and strengthening. It is these that enable the space to become an independent entity.
On both sides of an empty space are located the bedrooms, kitchen, and other rooms of the home – the dimensions of their size are framed and emphasized in simple, exposed, concrete beams. The large salon is divided into an inside and outside part by glass. It offers an additional reference to the mediterranean yard in which the inner and outer are merged in one functional space, delineated by a large wall.
The case at hand is designed with what could be interpreted as an “upside-down” garden. The ground of the garden has become a roof of the raised exterior walls. With the help of advanced technology, a sense of levitation is created by this principle mass that is housing the home’s main spaces.
The foundational stones of the Corten steel lattice provide a dual illusion – they dramatize the levitation of the main mass as well as ‘disturb’ the clean patches of pleasant light moving about the home through the sun’s path.
A second ‘disturbance’ is caused by the sensual texture of the Corten steel, further stressed by the concrete in the facade which frames it as well as the entire clean design.
The use of the Corten steel recurs in the sizable library of the home which also serves as an architectural element framing the empty interior. Hence the designs lends itself to a sense of vertical movement. It is accompanied by an additional interior garden surrounded by tall walls which create a movement to and within the lower floor .
The result is characterized by its sculptural quality in which space, mass and movement play in the sunlight.
Photographer: Amit Geron
Pitsou Kedem Architects Studio opened in 2000 and today consists of 11 architects. The studio is responsible for the design and planning of many projects in Israel and lately, also in Europe.
Pitsou Kedem set up the studio after finishing his studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA). The studio’s design language and concept is founded on the modernist style and his work encompasses the values and principles of the period as well as the design philosophies of the modernist movement.
During its formative years, the studio was involved in a constant dialogue with the fundamental principles of minimalism: reduction and moderation, clean lines for each element, separation of structural materials as part of the process designed to avoid the irrelevant in order to emphasize the significant and refining and seeking out the essence of the space.
Together, all these elements lead to a strong architectural concept that is uncompromising in its search for the absolute truth, in its pursuit for purity of form and shape and in its goal of achieving a spatial perception of comfort and tranquility.
This constant quest for simplicity leads to sophisticated and precise elements which , in turn, contributes to their uniqueness. The majority of the studio’s projects can be characterized by simple geometric, rectangular and recurring shapes that impart an exact and interconnecting look to the structure and its spaces.
Structural facades are uniform, mono-chromatic, devoid of all decoration and provide a feeling of being almost monumental in nature. By using this architectural and design language, we attempt to bring order to urban chaos.
For the past years, the studio has been searching for new materials, for a fresher approach that will allow us to enter new territory and step outside of recognized and boundaries. After years of simplifying materials to the extent avoiding all distractions that created those pure moments when “emptiness” disappeared and the individual sees and feels all that they failed to see and feel before, we began to add layers of materials and spatial layers. Inevitably, these layers created increasingly ambiguous and illusory spaces within the structure, layers that, in turn, created a greater sense of curiosity.
A great deal of effort was used in our research for new materials, and in particular, for materials to be used for building external structures and walls. In its ongoing search to deepen and expand its architectural and design language and to add new contentment, the studio has, over the past few years, been working with contrasting materials such as weathered steel and exposed concrete on the one hand and carbon and other new and innovative materials taken from the world of industrial technology on the other. The combination of different materials and different architectural and design languages and even, on occasion, different schools of design, created, in many projects, a surprising and dramatic tension.
The studio designs projects covering a wide range of sizes and complexity. From the interior design of restaurants, stores and living spaces to the design of private residences – usually those spreading over very large plots – and recently, hotels and residential complexes.
In all of our projects we consult closely with the client and “brainstorm” in our efforts to discover the story, the concept, that flash of inspiration that will lead to the project’s design. The nucleus of an idea, leads to the development of the design language and concept which then leads to the development of spaces which serve the users – whilst all the time, placing an emphasis on the context and the integration of the building into the urban fabric.
The studio has, over the years, been awarded many prizes including, for the past seven years, the Israeli Design Award. Our designs have been showcased in many professional journals and magazines around the world as well as on leading architectural web sites.
Pitsou Kedem has mentored graduation projects for the Faculty of Architecture at the Technion, Israel and lectures regularly at all of Israel’s architectural faculties.
Pitsou Kedem Architect
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