The CY House, an expression of modern minimalism based on Bauhaus principles, by Kedem Shinar Design and Architecture

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Project credits:
Project Name: CY House
Architects: Kedem Shinar Architecture & Design
Location: Carmei Yosef (Joseph’s Vineyard), Gezer Region, Israel
Area: 350 sq m
Project Year: 2016
Photos: Amit Geron,  Peled Studios
Project Management: Ruben Falkowski
Structural Engineer: Yaron Gal
Interior Design: Kedem Shinar Architecture & Design
Lighting: Kedem Shinar Architecture & Design
Landscape Design: Kedem Shinar Architecture & Design

Kedem Shinar was born in Tel Aviv, brought up in Boston and studied architecture in Tokyo. She worked for Japanese architects Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma before relocating to Tel Aviv, where she worked at Mann-Shinar Architects and Skorka Architects, then founded her own studio in 2013.

Her work is an amalgamation of a cohesive design language merged with elements of eastern and Japanese influences, based on her personal and collective experiences from the cultures. The CY House is a perfect rendition of her philosophical understanding of these influences and her conscious approach to mould them within the immediate context.

“The design idea, which draws inspiration from Japanese architecture, the De Stijl style, and local Bauhaus architecture, was to merge the light and the landscape with the space of the house by using an interplay of walls and openings, some transparent and some opaque, a play of open/closed and exposed/protected.” – Kedem Shinar

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Nestled within an Israeli landscape of pines, cypress and olive trees bathed by a unique light; this quiet sanctuary is pertinently described as the ‘House of Landscape and Light’. Crafting a seamless, uninhibited connection with the verdant landscape; the design of this house and the thought behind the spaces aim at forging a deeper, visceral connection with the surroundings.

Located in Carmei Yosef, a community settlement between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, this 350 sq m private home sits on a plot overlooking the forest. The design and spatial configuration clearly illustrates the architect’s choice to use principles of Japanese aesthetics, local cultural influences and Bauhaus design elements, thoughtfully fusing them together to create a modern masterpiece.

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The double door entrance on the eastern side of the house opens to a small nook behind the bookcase, piquing your interest from the entrance but skilfully revealing the grandiose of the living space as one moves ahead. The entryway leads into the double heighten public area consisting of the living and dining space, well furnished with sleek couches and a long plank dining table.

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The massing of the structure is composition of walls and windows opening onto the landscape, while at the same time forging a harmonious flow between the internal and external spaces of the structure. The tactfully positioned wrap around windows bathe the interiors in natural sunlight. These also provide an unimpeded vista of the forest ahead, maintaining the continuity of the inside with nature. The resultant effect of muted light adds an insightful touch to the interiors.

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On the opposite side of the living area is a spacious open kitchen which follows a similar modernist language through the liberal use of wood and metal in the cupboards, doors and surfaces creating a clean and resourceful work space. The black framed windows of the kitchen overlook the kitchen garden, which can be accessed through the back entry. The lower level also comprises of two bedrooms, one of them being a guest room and bathrooms.

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“The double height inner space is very dynamic: a bridge running along its entire length, an exposed iron staircase, and a library rising from floor to ceiling, are all elements from which outward and inward perspectives can be viewed, ever- changing according to the light conditions during the different hours of the day. Each component of the house is carefully designed to be functional: from the catwalks to the lighting to the spice rack in the kitchen.” – Kedem Shinar

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A timber bridge spans along the living space which is accessible through an exposed iron and wood staircase. This upper level gallery houses a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves and a quiet secluded corner to lounge and read. The staircase, which finally leads to the terrace on the flat roof, is in itself a design element with wooden treads framed and supported on black exposed iron.

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The building shell appears to be a composition of floating walls as the windows wrap around the facades offering exposure to the garden while also framing the same. Cladded in aluminium, the roof is supported on a wooden beam surrounding the structure and folds in a slight angle above the house. The roofline seems to be hedged above a row of clerestory windows creating the impression that the roof is hovering over the light that envelopes it.

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The material palette used is primarily neutral yet unique in its relationship to the structure, creating a contrast between the built and the natural. The concrete flooring used for the indoors spills out to form the front deck outside, blending with the garden and floating over it, blurring the distinction between them. The combination of wooden and iron elements for the door, stair treads and cupboards add a distinct warmth to the otherwise clean white interiors.

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The approach adopted to merge and play with various elements of landscape and light, openings and walls, materials and textures effortlessly blends the house with its wider context. While modernist principles are expressed through clean cut forms and a subtle palette of industrial materials used in their original state, they still remain devoid of any extraneous ornamentation.

-Surabhi Verma, Volume Zero.

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