Metropole Architects have recently completed TLV House on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The project represents the crowning achievement of a successful international collaboration between an Israeli client and project manager, an Arab Israeli contractor, a Russian Israeli engineer and a South African architect.
Designed and developed by Metropole Architects in Durban, South Africa, the logistical challenge posed by international work was effectively managed by means of intermittent site visits, regular video conference calls, and a remotely controlled webcam mounted on site which provided a virtual 'man on the ground' and enabled the architects to monitor progress on site at all times from South africa. The further challenges presented by the language and contextual differences were overcome by the collective spirit of mutual respect, between the members of the project team, that developed naturally as the project progressed.
With breathtaking vistas of downtown Tel Aviv to the West, and the spectacle of distant aircraft ascending quietly out of Ben Gurion International airport to the South, the 200m long rectilinear site presented amazing opportunities for a modern luxury home. The architecture of the dwelling is delineated by multiple layers of cantilevered horizontal planes, starting with the flat roof plane of the main house, and cascading down to first floor slab, car port pergola, freestanding gazebo and other cantilevered beams. This composition of floating planes is intended to create a sense of movement down the longitudinal axis of the site.
One of the most powerful and evocative experiential qualities of the site is that the setting sun seems to linger for an eternity before finally withdrawing behind the silhouette of downtown Tel Aviv's evolving skyline.
It was of critical importance that the outstanding quality of the natural light, as well as the play of light and shadow, was integrated as a fundamental design consideration. The architectural form of the house is accentuated by the fluctuating play of light and shadow thoughout the course of the day, in a symphony of built form brought together in light. The large areas of glazing, as well as the considered design and placement of openings and screens, combined with the spacious volumes of the interior rooms, all contribute to the architectures ability to capture the spectacular natural light.
Of equal importance, due to the hot and humid middle eastern climate, was the designs ability to capture the pleasant breeze coming off the Mediterranean Sea from the West, and filter it throughout the home in order to create a comfortable living environment. These important climatic considerations, together with the use of a diverse palette of materials and textures including natural stone, planked off shutter concrete, timber doors and windows, aluminium screens and brass cladding, harmonize to create an environment that inspires a sense of wellness, and lifts the spirit.
The design of the landscaping evokes a sense of tranquility and peacefulness, sensitively complimenting rather than competing with the architecture. The muted tones of the olive grove compliment the grey tones of the house, and instill a sense of simplicity and quiet. The colour, aroma ,taste and tactility offered by the fruit trees provide a feast for the senses, and the wind induced motion of the grass gives the garden a sense of rhythm and movement.
The cultural diversity of the team assembled for the project, has resulted in a finished home that has a richness and uniqueness that contrasts with the typical residential architype experienced in Israel, and the relationships that have been formed as a result of this project, will no doubt continue into the future.