The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake on the planet, so when Tel Aviv-based Golany Architects took on the assignment of designing a house overlooking it from a hillside in northern Israel, first they had to get an accurate estimate of the view. So, they traveled to the lot where the house would be built and climbed a ladder to determine the exact height at which the water can first be seen through the rolling hills. Then they erected a small duplex—2,150 square feet in total—for its owners, a young family with three children.
“The house aims to integrate into the pastoral surroundings,” says principal Galit Golany. “The rugged soil and the olive and carob groves around it, where horses graze, led to the choice of the materials: matching colors for the cement-textured plaster and the timber shutters outside, light brown stone for the paving inside, and the wooden ceiling with its massive beams.”
Those shutters are crucial due to the region’s heat; behind them recede large windows and doors on both levels of the house. “The double-skin envelope significantly improves the climate control,” Golany says, while also creating what she calls “intermediate spaces.” On the ground level, the area forms an outdoor living room; the one upstairs extends the family room. Meanwhile, the shutters can slide to meet the sun where it shines without compromising the views that sited the house itself.