House in Savyon by Dan & Hila Israelevitz Architects

Contemporary two-family residence located in Savyon, Israel, designed in 2016 by Dan & Hila Israelevitz Architects.

Description by Dan & Hila Israelevitz Architects

The connections system, between the exterior and the interior as well as the different areas of the house, was at the core of the plan designed by architects Hila and Danny Israelevitz for a house in Savyon, Israel. The result: a house to be discovered, which is not read at once but in stages, while creating a discovery experience, changing interests and sensations.

The owners of the house, which is located in Savyon, came to architects Hila and Dan Israelevitz with a reasonably standard program, with no wild whimsies – all they wanted was a modern house which is open to the outside, functional and convenient for everyday conduct, and suitable for their lifestyle as a family with three children. The chemistry was immediate, and so was the first sketch by architects Israelevitz, which was, actually, the only sketch. “The house owners’ wishes were in line with our concept that the house needs to first and foremost be used suitably for those living in it, and that was the purpose. To create a house which fills the needs of its inhabitants, and at the same time creates and highlights feelings beyond any aspect of time, fashion, or architecture alone”.

The two-story house, one half of a two-family house which resides on a rectangular corner plot of land, was planned as one piece, rectangular in shape as well, and its front façade is exposed as a reasonably reserved and sealed composition, into which integrate vertical concrete “belts” with horizontal cedar lattices extending up its entire height. A number of wide stairs lead from the front gate of the yard to the door, which is assimilated into the wood lattices, but its opening is surprising, since instead of coming into the house as expected, the guest is greeted by a wood covered space open to the sky, as a sort of additional step in the entering process, and a preliminary chapter to the interior space. “An architectural detail does not stand on its own, but is intended to serve a function, and in this manner, this space was intended to utilize the front area adjacent to the street, which is usually not utilized in houses located close to the street. This way, the area is not “wasted”, but integrates with the planning and creates a sort of a pleasant ventilated patio / morning garden you can sit in,” say architects Israelevitz, and add, “the choice of wood lattices is not only due to aesthetic reasons or contemporary trends, but due to climatic considerations, and it embodies a contemporary interpretation of traditional desert construction, in which a wall was built out of twigs which were wetted with water so the warm air which goes through them would penetrate moisture and cool the house”.

A large window which divides the morning yard and the interior space provides the guest with a primary glimpse, but only when opening the “real” door the covering intimacy of the wood is replaced with a feeling of openness, when the space is discovered in its fullness – airy and expansive, delineated by large windows which reveal a covered swimming pool that flows parallel to it, and in fact almost touches it. Architects Israelevitz: “the sensation you get is of a discovered house, which is not read at once, but in stages, while creating a changing experience of discovery and interest.” The swimming pool is located right behind the large windows and adjacent to them. This location is the outcome of mass reduction in this façade of the house (the wide façade facing the adjacent street), and thus changes its exterior appearance, and when looked at from the outside a sharp transition is created from the reserved closure of the entrance façade into transparency and openness. The concrete beams that covers the pool have three round fairly large openings, created for light control of the sun beans penetrating through them, and incidentally create sort of light rings which are “tossed” downward while creating an enchanting sight.

The ground floor space contains the common functions and stairs into the basement, its language is white and minimalistic, spread over a dimension of hovering: paved with white quartz tiles with a silk finish which instills some gleam, its cut off ceiling almost floats, and the baseboards on the bottom of its white walls were sunken and painted with a black hue that makes them “disappear” and gives the walls a floating appearance. The white airy tapestry is dramatically broken by a wall covered with grooved striped black stone which casts it with a completely different dimension. “Beyond the visual dimension, this wall, which extends from the basement floor up to the height of the top ceiling and accompanies the staircase, constitutes a movement route and a focus which connects all three floors of the space, and the stone cover is made to emphasize it as such”, say architects Israelevitz, for whom creating a relationship was a leading motif in their plan they have designed – between the exterior and the interior, as well as between the different parts of the house. And indeed, the feelings of connection and flow characterize the space, in which detail and long view axes are entwined, in different forms of material uses. This way, for example, the round shape of the light openings in the swimming pool cover is repeatedly quoted in the design of the ceiling adjacent light sources which were integrated into the different spaces, and pull your glance upwards. A considerable amount of glass, of which transparency enables direct eye contact, or an especially interesting use of wood lattices which echo the front façade. A wall covered in wood lattices which turns to the pool, and at the same time penetrates the interior space and combines in it as an element which contains a television screen and a built in fireplace. Architects Israelevitz: “Against the white language of the space, the wood element is dominant, and what is seemingly simple, entailed especially complex work and installment of each molding separately to ensure the required accuracy in the transition from the exterior to the interior and the homogenous integration of the screen and the fireplace”. An additional interesting detail integrated in this space recruited the facades of a large electrical cabinet which contains the smart house system infrastructure in favor of the design: a geometric model was planned for the facades which close it and the LED light sources which were installed in it, and distribute red lighting in the evening time, turn it into a unique aesthetic element.

The space lighting is mainly based on sunken light sources, with the moderate addition of hung light sources – three of them which descend from the top floor ceiling down to the front of the stone wall in the ground floor, and intensify-accentuate the relationship between the floors, and smaller light sources which were integrated over the island unit in the kitchen. An additional type of light source comes from the direction of the pool from the reflection of its water, and overall, its presence in the space captures the eye, and its minimalistic design, which preserves the special feeling and avoids too many items, truly provides a proper stage and does not compete with it.

The staircase which is accompanied by the stone wall is delineated in a glass divider which was installed only with connectors, with no additional accessories, and it conserves its “net” transparency, and the console-floating stairs are made of whitened wood. The two wide stairs in its beginning lead to the guest bathroom, of which dramatic design leans on a black hue similar to the stone wall, and the sink unit which is made up of three cases which are installed in movement one on top of the other, was planned by architects Israelevitz specifically for this space. The top floor includes the bedrooms – a parental unit in the front and three children’s rooms located along a passageway delineated by a glass banister. The openings in the passageway and the spaces facing the garden and the pool were planned along the entire height of the space, so that they are facing them directly, and the transparency accentuated in the entire floor embodies a direct continuation of the house’s language.

The exit to the garden from the depth of the living space leads to a wood deck which lies in its entrance and delimits the pool. Its area, which was planned for a pampering stay, includes a seating area and a bar counter, when naturally the pool is the main focus, especially as you paddle in its water and directly watch the kitchen and living room, the feeling is that you are actually outside and in the interior space at the same time – a feeling that embodies, perhaps more than anything, the motif of the relationship at the core of the plan, and was translated here in the house into a harmonic living experience.


I have been designing and planning houses for about 16 years, with great pleasure, and I find the music in the architecture very important. Volume and mass that create tension but also harmony. I try to have this kind of drama in every project.

My principles of the profession are that a really successful architect needs to wear two hats. The first one is of creativity and ingenuity. The second one is professionalism, pedantry, a basic understanding of the construction processes and going into details. I really don’t think you can have a successful project when one of these “hats” is missing.

In architecture I always look for the music in the cube, the tension and drama that exist in raw and massive bodies.

These led me to outline the essence of the firm, which is planning creativity and professionalism that would translate the client’s secret aspirations into a house that combines an incredible end look with a supreme living experience.

The feeling of connection and flow characterize the space, and are entwined in it in different formations of material uses, details and motifs, and long view axes that were planned to obtain them.

A quartz flooring with silky finish, disconnected ceilings, and sunken baseboards which were painted with a black hue that makes them “disappear” and creates a white minimalistic space frame and a floating appearance.

The use of wood lattices echoes the front façade: a wall covered in wood lattices which turns to the pool, and at the same time penetrates the interior space and combines in it as an element which contains a television screen and a built in fireplace.

Photography by Elad Sarig

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- by Matt Watts