s--r _ shelter _ expanse
"He brought me out into the expanse; He rescued me for He delighted in me". _ psalms 18:20
Our work is a search for the meetings between shelters and expanses.
It is guided by constant mappings of the fundamental spatial issues of our time.
It begins with the land - where contemporary requisites for development and conservation, built and un-built areas must be brought together and resolved in new ways. They must re-define our approach to design.
We address questions relating to how, and how much, land should be covered or uncovered, enclosed or disclosed, internalised or externalised, treated or retreated from.
We look at how the land is used through programmes: often concentrated as stations, stages, or shelters along a path, to create a 'promenade landscape', in an expanse which is thus made possible, as a large vast land now free to be left un-used.
Or the sensitive engagment with the land: whether by the footprint of structures, marks in the ground, or the de-surfacing of landscapes.
Out Into / Sway
Commissioned by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, 2015
1. Walking out into the plain
We wish to address issues of transience and temporality. In a time when immigrants, businessmen or tourists continuously move across a global expanse, we would like to investigate the possibility for a shelter, an interior. It is a temporary structure which should not be built to last.
It arrives without foundations: a structure that takes from the site nothing but stories, and leaves behind only memories.
2. Raising a shelter
The project required both research and development into the lightest of possible structures, which could be brought to site in several backpacks. It was developed in our workshop, over a period of a year, using a series of prototypes and loading tests, accompanied by parametric modelling and digital structural analysis. The emphasis here is not on vernacular form, but rather simplicity of assembly.
Similarly to the fable of the Reed and the Oak, the structure’s resilience lies in its ability to sway.
raising a shelter, a cover
Argo's Shadow _
Aluminium poles (7075 T9) are assembled into two horseshoe-shaped arcs, crossed and doubled for load bearing purposes, and braced with internal and external supports. A module is defined, each weighing 7 kg. The way in which the building and it's inhabitants engage with the land is integral to the notion of a temporary shelter. The ground holds everything, although we are only slightly touching it. The structure is held in place with weights filled with material from the site, which also double as seats for resting. Where sand is used, it can be watered to increase its density and weight, providing extra stability in case of a storm.
The shelter is formulated between weight and weightlessness. Between technologies of exploration and technologies of agriculture. Between moving and staying.
A cover _
Locally sourced agricultural light diffusion nets (filtration of 30-60%) are layered above and below the structure, to form a cover. The space transforms throughout it's life cycle, throughout the changing daylight and seasons, constantly engaging with its visitors.
Like the Ship of Theseus, it pledges for gradual recycling, reassembly and re-emergence.
Button knots fasten the arcs at their intersections, as flexible universal joints, while webbing straps hold the ends of the arcs in tension on the ground.
Like a Semperian enclosure, the nets are hand sewn to the structure with the string of an agricultural cutting rotor.
They are the woven ornamental marks of the craftwomen and men.
a knot, a mark
When positioned and compositioned on site, the generic module becomes contextual. The context as a three-dimensional physicality, and as a situation. It becomes a place for a multitude of events: hosting, gathering, solitude and contemplation. It invites movement and transit out into a suite of interior and exterior spaces. The composition of modules offers new environments on site - multiple situations, episodes, atmospheres to be explored, inside or outside. It is a safe place for rest. It forms a vestibule, a series of rooms, a court within a court, an exit.
4. Walking out into the plain _ hosting _
The structure stands as station, an episode in a visitor’s day.
It is not merely a point of arrival or place for rest, but part of an ongoing journey to be continued.
Architecture, therefore, could also be about leaving.
Light-weight moveable structure _ Sydney, Australia _ Completed _ 2015 _ 140m2 _ Client: SCAF – Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation _ With Liat Muller and Eyal Zur _ construction: s--r, matterarc, Eli Sahar, Asaf Etzion, Kedar Sails _ roof photo: Dan Perez.
walking out into the plain
A cover for a home. The top of a building extension is defined by a roof with deep skylights. Soft light diffuses into the space, giving it a calm sense of openness, whilst maintaining a comfortable interior micro-climate, and the familiar, protective quality of a shelter.
UNESCO Heritage Building Extension _ Tel Aviv-Jaffa _ Completed _ 2010 _ 200 m2 _ Client: Private
2/ enclosed / disclosed
In a world of extreme climates and diminishing natural resources, structures must be designed towards performative optimisation.
We aim for 'better basics'. We apply advanced technologies for productive outputs such as renewable energy or digital interactions, in conjunction with parametric modelling for optimisation. Combined with traditional techniques, it emphasises saving, restoration, resiliency.
We concentrate on suitable microclimates based on working with the local climate - shade and humidity, wind and dust, and the filtering of soil/water/air/noise/light pollution.
We wish to promote production over consumption: through creative uses in public open spaces, or by formulating new relationships between services and industry in the city, as part of a workshop 'make culture' (also practiced in our own studio).
Performative qualities are based on communal, social considerations such as education, access to networks, health and wellbeing.
They necessitate the intertwining of architecture and landscape, of the enclosed and disclosed.
A Bridge in an Orchard
A bridge above the fall-and-rise of the land.
The ground gently slopes down as the building extends above it to form a bridge. The bridge and the garden run parallel, accompanying one another along a linear site.
Finalist in an open competition. The studio managed an interdisciplinary team of more than 20 firms of designers and builders.
Sustainable agriculture is both rooted in the ground and detached from it, above and below the horizon line. The bridge demonstrates 'uprooted' agricultural technologies (such as soilless culture,hydroponics and algae microorganisms), while the garden is grown by traditional, still-relevant agricultural techniques (with historical species and an irrigation infrastructure).
A cyclical journey entwines indoors and outdoors, nature and interactive exhibition.
Bridging Horizons - Israeli Pavilion for EXPO Milan 2015 _ Competition, finalist _ 2013 _ 2000 m2 _ Client: Ministry of External Affairs _ With Liat Muller
agricultural technology, agricultural tradition
common water, on a plain
the region and the city - minorities
Over 200,000 Bedouins live in the Israeli Negev desert, about half of whom reside in non-recognised villages. Due to a lack of investment, there is widespread neglect of public infrastructure and ameneties. The project addresses the design and construction of the first swimmimg center for the Bedouin community in the Negev. As can be seen on the mapping of swimming pools in the northern Negev (left), all of them in Jewish localities. In the city of Rahat (right) open spaces are taken over by specific Hamulas. Looking for a setting for a shared public realm, it can thus be located only in the outskirts of the city.
Project initiated by Sack and Reicher together with the Rahat municipality and local partners.
Swimming Centre for the Negev Bedouin Community _ Rahat _ Ongoing - advanced desgin stage _ 40 dunams _ Client: Municipality of Rahat _ with Maayan First and Koren Shachar
the city and the region
the perimeter and public grounds
The perimeter building protects the central area from dust storms, and creates a social interface with the surrounding city. The proposed swimming centre is not only a new public open space, but a vehicle for education, health and cultural balance, as well as urban and ecological regeneration.
Inside the perimeter lies an integrated sustainable system of public open spaces and swimming pools, with water-retaining limans for date palm grove irrigation, and vegetation management including bio-filtered water and local cattle grazing. Combined, these elements create a garden at the edge of the desert, and a place where regional residents, city dwellers and Hamulas can meet.
In a culture looking to re-engage with the outside world, for new ways to come out into the land - we aspire to construct an open space that acts as a locus amoenus, or a basecamp for a walk.
We wish to present a possibility for a journey, for new resolutions, understandings, interpretations. These open shelters may manifest as ring-like marks in the ground, or an overhead linear light structure. However subtle, they will come to define the character of the surrounding expanse.
We wish to balance a culture searching for content, 'authenticity' and programmes, with one which regards perspectives, gestures and views. This should be evoked through the illumination of potential relationships, balanced in-site.
It is about creating a composition that is almost unseen, as if it was always there, that then changes through time.
(The emphasis in 'landscape' is first on the 'land', which only afterwards enables the 'scape').
These resolved compositions bridge the shelter and the expanse, and enable internal and external, private and public actions.
They look towards relationships between people, and between people and the changing lands they inhabit.
Maquis Square, on a Mountain
An open campus for the performing arts in Jerusalem re-weaves the city centre with the historical Nachlaot neighborhood.
Similarly to the library courtyard, the series of open courts are defined by the mountain morphology and maquis ecosystem of the region.
In order to restore the original continuous topography of the mountain (in a site cut today with retaining walls for a car park), it was necessary to devise slopes which are accessible for pedestrian circulation. To do this, we wrote a parametric modelling script, specifically for this project.
The proposed terraces are embedded into the ground, providing a stepped terrain for tree planting (in a similar technique to local, traditional orchard planting methods). They also act as the seating areas for social meetings and casual student performances. Their form is reminiscent of the geological rock layer formations found in the mountain.
Re-introducing the mountain maquis ecosystem as urban nature, to promote biodiversity and a comfortable microclimate.
Advanced tree planting solutions are planned as a municipal pilot, to achieve full tree growth in the deep rock layer.
Public open spaces for the Jerusalem Perfroming Arts Campus (Sam Spiegel and Nissan Nativ) _
Ongoing – stage 1 under construction, stage 2 in tender process _ 3000m2 _ Client: Jerusalem Municipality _ Architecture: Efrat-Kowalsky Architects
restoring the mountain topography
the mountain maquis
A Street Production
a walk to the mediterranean,
from a perspective, to a panorama
From the iconic City Hall to the fishing pier on the coast, a path is painted white.
It reduces ground temperatures by albedo effect, whilst suggesting a path for the flow of people, from Bat Yam intensive city centre to its water.
Towards the fishing pier and through an existing car park, the white path connects the Bat Yam promenade with the coast. It is framed by a new typology for a productive, ecological street section. The new infrastructure works as an urban retro-fitting.
Renewable energy systems, including special marine wind turbines and flexible photovoltaics, provide electricity for public use, via 220V outlets on each column. Local planting and the white path (creating an albedo effect) act as passive micro-climate systems, providing a pleasant place for gathering and a view to the horizon. We see these performative aspects as a means to redistribute common resources (industrial and cultural) back into public production, through interaction and education.
The linear structure opens out a walk to the sea. It builds a view - from a perspective to a panorama, extending a newly-perceived distance to the horizon and the expanse of the sea. The outstretched garden on the Mediterranean offers a perchance for reflection.
The incidental composition of the plan is almost transparent.
It is based on a cost-benefit analysis using environmental-economic modelling. The design is thus both simple and effective.
Green to Blue _ Ecological Street-Garden _ Bat Yam _ Completed _ 2010 _ 250m2 _ Client: Bat Yam Municipality
a distance, an horizon, a reflection
A Musical Landscape
An orchestra of wireless robotic darbuka drums is mounted along both sides of the linear path to the sea. They are accompanied by flexible photovoltaics and special marine wind turbines, which provide it with renewable energy. Members of the public were able to play the drums via an intuitive iPad interface, composing a musical landscape. Children were naturally the first to understand and play the axial spatial instrument, explaining it to their parents. It is a landscape as an interaction which represents also the performative aspects of the infrastructure which powers it.
A Musical Landscape _ Bat Yam _ Completed _ 2010 _ Client: Bat Yam Municipality _ With Assaf Talmudi, Jonathan Rubin, Liat Segal
an incidental composition
perfromative uses, by the public
4/ regional cities
In a time of increasing spatial and economic inequality, we must formulate a contemporary spatial social-liberalism.
It is based on a mapping of current 'late-capitalist' gated cities, enclosed by housing and transportation prices.
We must establish new ways of setting out a site beyond its prescribed boundaries, looking at the vast landscape, by delineating new territories.
We seek to re-interpret a regional urbanism for existing middle(-class) cities, where the urban, suburban, rural, and infrastructural are intertwined.
Open, continuous networks, composed of urban ecosystems and activities, should enable the building of communities, and provide access to public spaces and external expanses surrounding.
Vast regional poly-centric, overlapping networks should offer a favourable redistribution of economic opportunities and resources, knowledge spillovers and positive or negative spatial externalities.
This often involves urban and environmental economic modelling. Together, they help to promote a sense of society.
re-culture / re-wild
The landscape masterplan emerges from a dual starting point - first, maintaining large scale agriculture in central Israel metorpolitan area, now under threat from development, and second - restoring the historial oak maquis which preceded the agriculture, before the 19th century.
the oak forest, territorial agriculture
re-wild _ a possibility for an expanse
re-view _ a road, a programmed promenade
re-culture _ the productive land
the janus faced, promenade landscape
The programmed promenade _
A network of avenues, green streets and gardens connect the existing city with a new metropolitan park.
All open-space uses (playgrounds, sports, cafes and community spaces) are distributed along the main avenues of the park.
With all programmes on the avenues, the large, continuous, vast land units of the park are kept free of intensive, built, open space uses.
The restoration of the historical oak maquis brings with it the possibility of an external expanse into the regional city.
Regional, territorial agriculture as a man-made expanse.
The productivity of the earth is a central communal feature in the history of the area and the land.
Ramat Hasharon West Quarter and Metropolitan Park _ Ramat Hasharon _ Ongoing – advanced design stage _ 3,700 dunams _ Client: Israel Land Authority (ILA), Ramat Hasharon Municipality _ Architects: Yaar-Korin
5/ expanses external
In the age of Anthropocene, we look for expanses which can be re-made external (to the economy, the culture of the city).
The external quality of the landscape or the horizon not only relates to the human perspective, through use or experience, but is rather a value-onto-itself. It is rooted in the deep ecological value of the place. To reinterpret Leopold, it calls for 'Thinking as an expanse'.
We should therefore design for longer, 'natural' time scales, such as geological dynamics, or recent notions of 're-wilding'.
From this expanse externalised, we can then build views - whether a sheltered long, framed perspective or an 'expanded' wide, open panorama. The external expanse builds a distance to the horizon.
The distance across the land enables new reflections: of the region beyond, or else back towards the internalised city, as a re-viewed perspective.
(Similar to the sculpture of Hercules, looking back towards Vaux les Vicomte, holding the apples of the Hesperides behind his back).
The Mill on the Mountain
an agricultural rite, at the edge of the land
The restoration of kibbutz Malqiya mill began with the planting of a new orchard of local trees, such as fig and carob specimens.
Planted by the kibbutz members as part of the traditional Tu Bishvat holiday, it is one of the few remaining rites of a persisting socialist, agrarian community, denoting its relation to the land. It is an act on the historic edge of the land: in the background of the photo above, Mount Hermon, on the border with Syria.
Restoration of Malkiya Mill _ Kibbutz Malkiya _ Ongoing – stage 1 complete, stage 2 in permit process _ 4.6 dunams _ Client: Kibbutz Malkiya, Galil Elyon Regional Council, The Quarries Rehabilitation Fund
The park is seen as a window, opening to an experience of the coastal plain - its geology, ecologies, people. From East to West it is part of the regional series of sand dunes, still evolving, eroded and submerged by the sea. On the north to south axis the proposed landscape is marked as an intermission between intensive urban coasts.
Coastal Park _ Tel Aviv-Jaffa _ Competition proposal _ 2016 _ 500 dunams _ Client: Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality _ With Maya Zohar _ painting by Marina Malamud
an episode in a region, a stage for a view
Viewing the movement of the land
Protection of Aeolionite Coastal Cliffs _ Hadera, Emek Hefer, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Bat Yam _ Ongoing – in permit process _ Client: The National Company for the Protection of the Coastal Cliffs
The erosion of the coastal kurkar (aeolionite, calfcified limestone) cliffs is one of the few geological processes which can be perceived in one's lifetime.
The project is a masterplan for some of the major cliffs located along the Israeli Mediterranean coastline. Each section requires a different variation on a balancing act of preserving the cliff on the one hand, protecting the developements on top of the cliff on the other, and functional and ecological considerations affecting the beach and the sea.
The original project called for massive artificial defense structures to stop the erosion, mostly in order to protect private land above.
Our analysis, based on recent geological surveys, suggests that the process can be managed and preserved dynamically, together with environmental economic modelling of compensations for loss of private land.
The masterplan in fact defines monitoring actions and dynamic modelling, preceding and often replacing physical interventions.
For example, Beit Yanai is one of the most expensive real-estate in Israel. Meanwhile the coast below is one of the last natural beaches in Israel, and is visited by 2 million people a year.
26 private houses on top of the cliff raised privately financed protections. These rocks not only ruin the cliff, but reduce the width of the public coast (due to return-wave-energy).
Hankin house - typical masterplan workflow, rather than presecribed solutions.
The cliff is one of the most beautiful in the area. It appears in every publication of the city. Rather than covering it with concrete, to protect the historical building above, we defined in the masterplan a repeated ground LIDAR monitoring, which will guide local necessary solutions (about 1 meter in size), such as filling or removal.
The cliff appearance, geology and dynamics will be preserved.
working with geological time
a dynamic policy
Biannual ground-mounted LIDAR monitoring (at 20cm resolution) directs local, small-scale interventions where there is immediate danger to visitors on the coast.
Rather than a finite design, obstructing natural landscapes, we propose an 'infinite' workflow, where advanced technology is used to protect mythic, geological time.
An external geological expanse, in the age of anthropocene.
Ground LIDAR comparisons _ red - depositions, blue - erosions
Ran Shemesh - GSI, HUJI
6/ the states of the land
In a geo-political region subject to spatial injustices, drastic political transformations, and threats to social-liberal agendas, we study the possibilities of present spatial public policies, of territorial planning today. Namely, to reconcile between public and private agents, between global city(-states) and the nation-state, between neighbouring nations.
It is not a question of scale, but an on-going, ever-evolving understanding of the future of the nation-state as a humanistic, democratic, modernist project.
It should ultimately lead to a more equitable, just, fair space.
Our work deals specifically with pressing, contemporary issues in Israel. We explore them through 'archeological' mappings of the territory, its edges, its outlands, and beyond; through research of territorial agriculture; or 'spatial religion' (acknowledging the persisting relevance of tradition today, as in sacred sites or rural rites).
The bridging of shelters and expanses, is therefore the braiding of performative, structural, spatial design methodologies, to an approach which is always regional, political, historical, mythical.
Policies of a Plan
What are the roles and possibilities of national planning today? In our current political-economic climate of 'late capitalism', most of the development is privatised and subject to market forces. At the same time, open and natural land must be preserved, and public infrastructure directed efficiently. The analytic infographics for National Plan 35 represent the logic behind these responsibilities, building parametric spectrums and scenarios of development, conservation, and commuting.
Analysis and representation for TAMA 35 – National Outline Plan _ Israel _ Completed _ 2006 _ Client: Ministry of Interior _ With: Rebecca Sternberg – MEGAMA
parameters _ degrees of development and conservation
Between Two States
Regional analysis of two-nations scenarios _ Stage 1 Completed _ 2016, Stage 2 Ongoing - advanced analysis _ Client: Various NGOs
Looking at the land
Grandfather and grandson in Khirbet Makhaz. Left - the ruins, right - deserted military base.