Total privacy in Herzelia
At Hertzelia in Israel’s central coastal region just north of Tel Aviv, one of the most vibrant cities in the Middle East, a 512 square metre area site was available for construction of a four-floor private villa with a total functional area of 710 square metres. This posed a significant challenge to the architects, Itai Paritzki & Paola Liani Architects of Tel Aviv, who have designed numerous private residences and public buildings not only in their home town but also in Eilat on the Red Sea coast and in Jerusalem, London and Marseilles, as well as creating the Israeli Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition.
The volumetric design of the K-House, the architects explained, was based on «integration between the maximum possible buildable volume and the three-dimensional composition of green space elements.
The green «holes» allow sunlight to penetrate deep into the domestic spaces, illuminating them directly. They generate a further internal elevation, creating openings and allowing for natural ventilation while guaranteeing privacy and silence. The focal green holes aim to create a sense of visual and spatial connection, accompanying the inhabitants of the house on their spontaneous pathways.»
What most characterises the project is the strongly contemporary nature of the fortress-style house, based on the contrast between the clearly-defined volumes and the entirely Mediterranean colours of the exteriors — optical white, terracotta red and cement grey.
The effect is further enhanced by the use of materials, particularly the external terracotta shell that surrounds the walls and is also adopted for the outer perimeter wall of the property.
These full-body products with a Litos finish manufactured by Sannini Impruneta have also been used as a solar screen in the upper section of the villa which serves as a terrace/open air space. In this case they are positioned horizontally in the form of thin ogival cross-section elements, likewise with a Litos finish (extruded clay that is simply fired without surface operations or treatment).
Ideal for both interior and exterior use, this finish easily withstands environmental factors, which in fact enhance the product’s characteristics over time.
Consultant and coordinator for Sannini Projects, architect Guido Giacomo Bondielli outlined his vision of the use of terracotta shells in architecture: «Some of the latest projects by internationally renowned architects have pioneered an innovative use of terracotta for the façade cladding of high-profile buildings, further promoting an important historic material that also offers outstanding versatility for today’s technology-oriented design world.
This material was extremely popular in the past and is now being used primarily as a cladding envelope rather than a solid vertical element.
This new application has prompted ongoing research and development in the field of production, a process in which Sannini Impruneta has chosen to play a leading role.»
The use of terracotta external shells not only offers unique potential for novel aesthetic and formal qualities, but also allows for a considerable saving in energy consumption due to the reduced heat loss through the perimeter walls and the low (or non-existent) maintenance costs, even in the long term. And particularly in countries where the use of terracotta is part of the vernacular architectural language, it represents an important link between the past and present of interior design.