Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre, Be’er Sheva Building, Israeli Veterans’ Home, Design

Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre : Veterans’ Home Israel

Building in the Negev Desert – design by Kimmel Eshkolot Architects

12 May 2013

Beit Halochem

Israeli Veterans’ Home, Be’er Sheva

Located south east of Be’er Sheva in the Negev Desert, in southern Israel, this is a medium-sized building containing spaces such as pools and gym spaces to rehabilitate those injured in the line of duty.

e-architect were guests of Kinetis a non-profit organisation with no connection to the government. We focused on key contemporary buildings in Israel but also met architects, urbanists and clients.

Beit Halochem Israeli Veterans Home Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva
photographs © Adrian Welch

The concept of the building, explained to me by the architect, was five ‘rocks’ in the desert with an overarching roof. Each ‘rock’ is a wing of the building and the intervening spaces are cloaked with a timber-lined soffit. Evaluating the design was hindered by a huge amount of clutter but in general the building seems to work though I found reading the layout from the entry and the foyer slightly difficult, the ‘rocks’ metaphor doesn’t quite work for me.

However the articulation of form and detailing is strong, for example the way the floor-to-ceiling glazing meets the timber slatted soffit.

Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva
photograph © Adrian Welch

Another positive is the lower courtyard with its focal tree, steps to one side and light canopy fluttering overhead. Although appearing a little austere this space does encourage one to linger.

Beit Halochem Israeli Veterans' Home Be'er Sheva Israeli Veterans Home Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva Beit Halochem Israeli Veterans' Home Be'er Sheva Israeli Veterans Home Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva
photographs © Adrian Welch

However my favourite piece of architecture here is the small outdoor pool which uses such simple techniques to provide a spark of energy. The angular pool is offset from a rectilinear cantilevered roof and flush with the boarded deck, a delightful moment in the programme, albeit a small part of the overall building.

Beit Halochem Beit Halochem Beit Halochem Israeli Veterans' Home Be'er Sheva Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva
photographs © Adrian Welch

Access patterning on the entrance paving to aid direction for people with vision impairment:
Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva
photograph © Adrian Welch

Signage in the pool area:
Beit Halochem Israeli Veterans' Home Be'er Sheva Israeli Veterans Home Beit Halochem Be'er Sheva
photographs © Adrian Welch

17 Aug 2011

Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre

Be’er Sheva, Israel

Design: Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, Israel

BETH HALOCHEM – VETERANS’ HOME

On the outskirts of Beer Sheva, where the city ends and the desert begins, is the site of the new building: Beth Halochem (Veterans’ Home). The scorching desert sun and the parched scenery served as inspiration. The structure was designed as an arrangement of “rock” like units grouped together. Between them a thin horizontal roof forms a courtyard – intimate, inviting and protected, to serve the functions of the building – a home for disabled veterans and their families.

Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre Beit Halochem Veterans' Home Israel Veterans' Home
images from architect

While studying the various three-dimensional expanses, a unique relationship with the project emerged, based on relations between light and shadow, closed versus open, positive and negative. The bright sunlight makes it possible to achieve a three-dimensional richness by reflections from the rough frontal surfaces.

The “rocks” enclose rooms for private and more intimate functions, while in-between spaces serve as public areas in the building. Light bridges spanned over those areas enable passage between public spaces, which reinforces the ‘experience’ of the building for the users.

In the private areas, thick walls provide climate protection, which is so essential in the Negev desert. In contrast, in the public areas the light roof that caps the building provides shade and protection of the interior regions, and also creates a variety of external spaces where it is pleasant to relax.

Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre Israel Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre Beer Sheva
images from architect

The building divides the site into new topographies. This allowed the design of two ground floors on two different levels, interlocking with each other, as an integral part of the building architecture.

By gentle ramps the inner shaded patio of the lower ground floor is connected to the Entrance in the upper ground floor, Thus achieving maximum accessibility as is appropriate for the special needs of users of the building.

Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre Be’er Sheva – Building Information

Area of site: 18,000 sqm
Built area: 6,000 sqm

Main functions:
society and community – auditorium, classrooms, workshops, club
rehabilitation – physiotherapy, pool therapy, massage, clinic
sports – basketball court, swimming pool, gym, billiards, table tennis, gymnastics
support and services – cafeteria, changing rooms, management and maintenance

Construction Costs: 1,500 Euro per sqm

Beit Halochem Rehabilitation Centre information from Kimmel Eshkolot Architects

Kimmel Eshkolot Architects

Location: Beer Sheva, Israel

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