Beit Halohem | בית הלוחם
Rehabilitation centre for IDF disabled veterans in the city of Be'er Sheva
Competition Winner | Completed in 2010
Set in the Negev Desert - in the outskirts of Beer Sheva, where the city ends and the desert begins - Beit Halohem is a home for disabled veterans and their families. The desert sun and the arid scenery served us as a source of inspiration to design compositions of rock-like volumes that are grouped to form a protected and intimate environment.
The alignment of these rocks, and the thin horizontal roof which hovers between them, creates a sheltered courtyard. The strong desert sunlight bounces on the different surfaces of the rocks, creating an ever-changing appearance to the building.
Circulation and accessibility
Interconnecting ramps on both sides of the building were the starting point of the circulation scheme and became a major generator for the design. These ramps connect all the users of the building, without separating disabled and non-disabled paths. Two ground floor levels interlock with one another and become an integral part of the architecture.
Through gentle ramps, the inner courtyard in the lower ground floor level is connected to the entrance in the upper ground floor level - achieving maximum accessibility, as is appropriate for the needs of the users of the building.
While studying the various spatial opportunities of the composition of the rocks, a unique relationship with the project emerged - a design language that is based on relations of light and shadow, closed versus open, positive and negative. The bright sunlight makes it possible to achieve rich spatial qualities with the reflection of sunlight on the different facets of the rocks.
The main rock structures include rooms for private and more intimate programs, while the in-between spaces serve for public activities. Lightweight bridges span over these areas, creating movement within them. In the enclosed spaces, thick walls provide climate protection, which is essential in the Negev desert.
The project has won the Rechter Architecture Prize 2011.