London firm, Amos Goldreich Architecture and Israel firm Jacobs-Yaniv Architects have come together to design a new shelter for the No to Violence Against Women charity, which helps domestic abuse victims in Israel. This will be the charity’s first purpose-built shelter, replacing an overcrowded, makeshift building.
Located in a quiet neighbourhood, the site is surrounded by a mix of private homes and townhouses and is within reach of community resources like stores, jobs, clinics, schools, parks, counseling centres and recreational facilities. The shelter will include independent living quarters for up to 12 families, communal areas, a kindergarten, a computer room, laundry facilities, kitchens, a refectory as well as staff accommodation and office areas.
The new shelter is composed of two facades – a secure, protective external façade and an inner façade leading onto a central garden, the therapeutic “heart” of the shelter. This courtyard plays the pivotal role of providing visual connections between staff and families, women and children, and serving as a meeting place for residents. The building is thought of as a single small village. Each family is given independent quarters - a “house” – within the building, separating their living space form communal functions. A corridor – the “street” – connects these houses to the building facilities. The nursery is separated physically from the main building, functioning as an ordinary nursery with its own daily routine.
“It was vital to ensure that while respecting the need for privacy, staff should also have clear sightlines overseeing all communal areas,” said Amos Goldreich. “The needs of the building’s users are inevitably complex – this will be a challenging but immensely rewarding project.”
The building will also incorporate sustainable practices: materials will be locally sourced, natural ventilation will be the priority and water will be heated by photovoltaic energy. Special attention has been paid to the landscaping plan, donated by US landscape architect Eran Schlesinger, which features native planting and an herb garden for use by kitchen staff.
"The shelter will provide a much-needed refuge for abused women – they arrive in a state of real distress, these people have deep psychological problems, as do their children, so the shelter must provide them with a tangible sense of calm and security,” said Ruth Rasnic, Founder of No To Violence Against Women.
Design TeamAmos Goldreich, Tamar Jacobs, Oshri Yaniv
Landscape ArchitectEran Schlesinger
PhotographsCourtesy of Amos-Goldreich Architecture