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Israeli Architect Couple Use Concrete Blocks to Build themselves a Home Among Fruit Trees

Architects Tamar Jacobs and Oshri Yaniv have built their own home on the Israeli coast, with its roof lifted up above concrete-block walls to offer glimpses of the sky.

The co-founders of Israeli firm Jacobs-Yaniv Architects, who have two children together, designed the 200 square-metre house for a plot of land in Herzlia – a city on the Mediterranean coast, north of Tel Aviv.

The architects’ family had occupied the site for some years. But the couple wanted a light and airy new home, and also one that would allow them to enjoy the numerous fruit and nut trees growing there.

The walls of concrete blocks – also known as breeze blocks – and the concrete roof are left exposed throughout the one-storey residence to create continuity between inside and outside. These materials are expected to age well with little maintenance.

Windows puncture the eastern and western sides of the building to allow air to flow through the building, and to ensure daylight can enter at all times of the day.

Thanks to ceiling beams that life the flat concrete roof up from the walls, there is also a clerestory window that runs around the entire perimeter of the building, offering glimpses of the sky and treetops.

“After living on the plot in a small house for many years, and experiencing life by two large pecan nut trees, and many other fruit trees, we knew the new house would become part of the existing garden, which has been there long before us,” said the architects.

“The green surroundings, ideal daylight and western breeze from the close by Mediterranean were our starting point.”

Called Bare House, the property is divided into three parts. An area for the children is at one end, and second area for the parents is located at the other.

Sandwiched in between, the living room is the third space. It features large expanses of glazing that provide views to the decked patio and garden outside.

The desire was that the lounge would act like a courtyard – an enclosed garden, an extension of the garden inside the house,” Jacobs and Yaniv said.

A two-sided black iron bookshelf cuts across the room, separating the lounge from a kitchen, where dark wooden cabinets extend along the back wall.

The architects’ space, in the block adjacent, includes the master bedroom. Here, half-height blockwork partitions the bedroom from a study on the garden-facing side. There is also a bathroom with a series of monochrome finishes.

Outside, decked walkways lead around the house and two additional enclosed service spaces.

Jacobs and Yaniv founded their studio in 2004. Their projects include a purpose-built shelter for women and children suffering domestic abuse, a pilates studio for Paralympic gold-medallist and an apartment that references Tel Aviv’s 1950s interiors.