SaaB design private residences, planning mostly single household villas in semi-rural environments, concentrating on making the best use of natural site conditions in order to gain climatic comfort and solve the client’s programmatic needs, while never compromising on design in the process.
How has the architecture of Israel influenced your work?
It is true that Israel has a wide range of fascinating historical structures, but our inspiration is mostly derived from later periods in architecture, namely the early modernist repertoire and its International Style buildings. Yet we always try to express our respect to the local historical architecture by relating to the context of the project, and applying a modern contemporary view on past materials, techniques and planning principles.
Israel, particularly Tel Aviv, is spoilt for modernist architecture. Which is your favourite modern building in Israel?
The Gottesman Etching Center at Kibbutz Cabri. The current building was planned by Szmelcman-Gottesman and is located in north Israel, far from the well known cultural centres of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. In our opinion, this building achieves high aesthetic values regardless of a ‘down to earth’ budget, due to accurate minimalism and fine design.
What are the advantages of working as an architect in Israel?
Being a planner in a young growing country, practically building itself on the move, gives us a rare chance to take part in major historical processes, as well as many minor acts of building, which always take place in this ever evolving country. Another advantage of a totally different kind has to do with the typically warm and open character of Israeli clients, which makes working on private homes a very intimate experience, and literally allows us to design ’ways of living’ sewn to suit people’s needs.
Among contemporary Israeli architects, whose work do you admire most?
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, Mayslits Kassif Architects, and Pitsou Kedem.
How does the climate impact on your work and how does it affect what you design?
On the one hand, the relatively hot weather demands solutions in order to sustain climatic comfort. On the other hand, it allows exciting relations between interior and exterior spaces, and a wide range of options in this respect. We believe that the correct placement of the house on the site is extremely important because it determines its exposure to the sun and allows openings that enhance natural ventilation. Living in a warm climate also allows us to plan an outdoor alternative for many everyday activities, such as dining, reading, entertaining and playing.
Do you like to work with materials indigenous to Israel and if so, which particular materials?
We once planned a flat wood roof in a house in Galilee, applying a traditional local building method from Arab villages to an otherwise modern house. We used corrugated tin while planning in a countryside town that featured farming sheds and silos covered with this material.