We were approached by a couple who had acquired a land in Kerem-Maharal, Israel, a countryside community situated on the magnificent Carmel mountains ridge, bordering the surrounding woods, overlooking a wild meadow.
We were asked to design a modern house that would accommodate both the basic everyday needs of the couple, and allow them to practice their hobbies and host their grandchildren.
Understanding their programmatic needs, taking into consideration the wild surrounding, and the proximity to nature, the design focused on bringing the landscape into the house, while maintaining residents ‘privacy.
Inspired by the surroundings and the fact that old ruins of ancient cultures are scattered in the entire area, we have used rough stones reminiscent of old buildings, to cover our main mass and create a solid visual foundation, almost “ruin” like, which emerges from the ground, waiting to be complimented.
We then floated a white clean modern mass above it, creating an elegant balance between the two styles.
Details of the interior and furniture are an integral part of the architectural language -processed teak wood, glass, metal, and latticework made of fiber cement strips.
All is intended to reflect the purpose of the design-to help residents tell the story of the house, while achieving effective, functional comfort enhanced by the enriched experience of the changing landscape during the day and throughout the year.
The main entrance level consists of a wide entrance hall, a large open space kitchen, a living room, a dining area, a library and a fireplace area, two a master suites, and a laundry and utility rooms.
Right as we enter the house the custom made rough wood kitchen island reveals itself following by aluminum plated cabinets, and a stainless steel worktop. The two extremely different materials balance the temperature of the space.
The interior walls covered by cold modern fiber cement plates interlock smoothly with the warm teak wood shelving system.
The large space is divided by a suspended wall, hovering over the natural processed stone tiles, allowing privacy for the master suite while defining the border between the private living space and the public functions.
A set of floating wood steps, supported by a custom cnc cut glass handrail leads us either to the upper or the lower level.
Surrounded by 360 degrees of outstanding views of the mountains and the valley, above the kitchen, overlooking the living room and the dining area is an open gallery used a study. Equipped with custom made desks and shelving system the study functions as a main pivot point the tenants circulate around most of the day.
The lower level consists of a cinema room, a gym, a living room and a large open space used as recreational area, storage rooms, shelter and a utility access shafts.
Bearing in mind the privileges of the surroundings and the inhabitant’s needs for privacy, the house relates to the "sterile" street with an almost mysterious opaqueness, while visually open and hovering above the natural landscape to the rear.
Incorporating local motifs; Poinciana, Olive trees, and river stones with Japanese motifs, such as bamboo, Lychee, and Bonsai trees, allowed us to design a Zen garden around the house that expresses a harmonious, calm relationship between the house and its natural environment.
Gross Floor Area (mq)450
ArchitectsAriel Isaac Franco Architecture Studio
Design teamAriel Isaac Franco Architecture Studio
Main ContractorA. Franco ltd
ConsultantsProject management: Nissan Franco and Abbot Franco at A. Franco ltd • Structural engineer: Ilan Kremer • Sanitation engineer: Lupo • Electrical engineer: Bitan, Nov systems • AC engineer: shaked shikma• Pools: Aquatec• Landscaping: Ariel Franco Arch Studio• Lighting consultant: Eilon Gavish
Suppliers• Windows and doors: Ponzio, Oikos, Apex israel • Glass work: A A Mirors • Smart home: Lutron, Global Quality • Audio video and com: Ofir S. Video Design • Steel craftsmen: Shor, halevi • Pools: Aquatec • Stone, Tiling, wall covering: Topolski israel • Water elements: Aquatec • Hardwood floor: Parketeam • Kitchen: Hi Touch Custom Kitchens• Furniture: Natuzi, Tollman`s Israel
Photo Credits• Stills photographer: Oded Smadar • Video: Rotem roznai video and editing
Ariel Isaac Franco Architecture Studio is a boutique architecture and design firm led and owned by Ariel Isaac Franco, and is a part of A. Franco ltd Group which is offering services such as Project design, Project management, Construction, and a full Design-Build solution. Ariel has got his degree in Architecture at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in Los Angeles, CA. The firm designs projects and operates both in Israel and in the US, and specializes in high-end private residential houses and small-scale boutique high rises. We believe in “Form Follow Function” and we use unique architecture elements to form the skins and encase the programmatic cores of our designs. Each and every project is unique, so are the location, the surroundings, and the core natural elements that react to it. Designing based on that methodology, we are doing a lot of experimental work, testing new materials and applications, while pushing the limits of conventional design.