Modern renovation of 17th century house in Israel by Pitsou Kedem Architects

Designing the interior of this 300-plus year-old house in Jaffa was akin to an archaeological expedition, say its designers Pitsou Kedem Architects

Architecture : Pitsou Kedem

Design team: Pitsou Kedem, Raz Melamed, Irene Goldberg

Photography: Amit Geron

Striking the balance between modern and traditional architecture is harder than it looks - but when it is done well, as in this house in Jaffa, Israel, the results can be stunning.

Architecture : Pitsou Kedem Design team: Pitsou Kedem, Raz Melamed, Irene Goldberg Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

Recently renovated with an interior design scheme by Pitsou Kedem Architects, the house is in Jaffa's Kasbah and was built at some time during the 17th century around the time when Jaffa was resettled.

Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

According to the architects, it was difficult to tell whether what is now the house was originally a single building or a structure to which other structures have been added over time.

Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

A modern floating staircase is set into an exposed concrete wall made from a rough wooden mould. The staircase is screened by a railing of steel cables which continue to the full three floors of the buildings height.

Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

The concrete wall, which is reinforced with embedded steel pillars separates the house from the neighbouring structure.

Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

This, say the architects, 'perhaps constitutes the sole remaining indication of any architectural activity taking place at this location. All other spaces within the structure provide an impression of visiting a structure that has been frozen in time.'

Modern renovation of 17th century house in Israel by Pitsou Kedem Architect Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

However, there's a lot more going on that meets the eye.

Modern renovation of 17th century house in Israel by Pitsou Kedem Architect Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

The project involved delicate and painstaking work to expose the original arches of vault ceilings, which have become hallways and wide openings, improving the flow of light through the space.

Modern renovation of 17th century house in Israel by Pitsou Kedem Architect Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

The architects also restored the kitchen area to full height, removing storage that had been put there in the past. Sections of thebuilding's west-facing fa├žade, constructed in the past few years from wood and concrete blocks have been removed to allow for large openings facing out to the sea.

Modern renovation of 17th century house in Israel by Pitsou Kedem Architect Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

The design of the interior, which evolved throughout the project, was something like an architectural dig, with the original structure gradually being uncovered from beneath layers of plaster.

Modern renovation of 17th century house in Israel by Pitsou Kedem Architect Photography: Amit Geron

Photography: Amit Geron

What the architects discovered was a building that had been constructed using some of the most advanced techniques of the time;with this in mind, the architects felt confident in doing the same, and therefore see nothing incongruous in the use of moderntechniques and materials such as concrete, iron, steel cables and Corian surfaces.





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