2019       Neve Zemer, Ra'anana  /  Raanana

Client: Private
Size: 24,000sqm
Program: 123 units
Photo: Amit Geron

"New Urbanism" in Raanana: A high dense residential project of 100 units in two separate clusters, Construction is completed, and all units were inhabited in 2020.
The buildings are located at the center of the new Neve Zemer neighborhood, erected "Tabula rasa" on the former rural lands in the northern part of Raanana.
The neighborhood, soon to be inhabited by 3,000 new families, has been planned by Raanana's local planning committee according to the principles of "New Urbanism": creating a community by low rise density, sustainable traffic systems and focusing on cultivating the public space.
The challenge in planning was to ensure that the users, the inhabitants, as well as the public on street level, wouldn't feel the crowding. We have tried to create a feeling of brightness and openness, while planning a whole urban block simultaneously protecting both public space and inhabitants' privacy.
The structures are organized around protective open spaces which define quality outdoor spaces, provide the inhabitants with beautiful views between the buildings and farther to the open landscape, and recreate a feeling of "life in nature". In order to keep the block homogenous, we have sculpted it like a piece of a puzzle, only by varied subtractions out of the permitted building volume, thus offering a new and extraordinary typology (with regards to familiar "standard" of high dense residential projects) creating different types of apartments in each floor, starting with 2 rooms and up to 6 rooms, each and every one offers optimal natural ventilation and lighting.
The unit mix is planned for a variety of users – students, young families, old population and people of special needs.
The external coating is of hanged white granite boards. The horizontal lines have been meticulously planned in order to texturize the facades.
The textures vary between the inner block, which contains the main structures' mass, and the surface of the external “skin”.
The varying yet precise grid of the stone boards creates a strong contrast with the green surroundings and separates the buildings from the standard image of residential buildings.
The cavity created between the inner block and the south facing external casing shades and cools the inner spaces. The external casing defines the buildings and contains the balconies, thus preserving the wholeness of the façade in face of the public space, the streets, the roads and the small parks.
The deep balconies envelope the apartments' inner world, creating intimate spaces by framing the view and allowing each inhabitant their own identity and personal expression in the project without harming the construction wholeness or the public space.
When the neighborhood planners contemplated the preservation of Raanana's architectural tradition, it has been determined in the urban master plan that top roofs should be pitched and covered with red clay tiles. In our interpretation, the top floor "folds" with the stone coating in a pitch that allows the rural gesture even in a 7-floor contemporary building.
This project is all about searching the right balance between public and private spaces, with a varied mix of unit types, facades designed as a grid of rhythmically alternating openings and the buildings' composition of inner volumes and outer skin.
The project precisely responds to the rigid limitations of the new master plan as well as the context of the new neighborhood, and yet winks and offers a critical view of the social homogeneity typical of these neighborhoods.