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TAMUZ - Urban Kibbutz



A complex composed of sixteen residential apartments (with planning for an additional twelve apartments), a multi-purpose public building and open public areas, having a communal community approach, covering an area of about five dunams (without the planned expansion). The complex is located on the slope of a hillside in the western part of the town of Beit Shemesh.

The architecture of the complex is a physical-spatial expression of the social conceptualization that led to the establishment of the urban kibbutz in Israel in 1986 The members of the core group, people from kibbutzim and towns in their late twenties, were the first to try to reinterpret the kibbutz ideal – which was then clearly in the early throes of decline – in an urban setting.

​The general design combines the definition of the complex and its controlled opening outwards, through the creation of a built-in wall in the form of two sides of a triangle containing the residential apartments, and facing the landscape of the Judean plains. These residential buildings are connected from the inner side of the plot to the avenue of columns, providing space for movement and meeting of the kibbutz members – a sort-of modest version of the agora. This configuration leaves one side open and invites the neighborhood and its residents into its heart.

The main public building of the kibbutz was established on this side while cleverly taking advantage of the topographical slope, which places the kibbutz below the heart of the neighborhood: the upper level of the public building, at street level, connects to the neighborhood where there are three kindergartens serving the residents of the town, and which are operated by members of the kibbutz. The lower level of the building, at the level of the courtyard, is the focal community point for the kibbutz members.

The residential apartments – the basic area of each of which is 87 m2 – were designed to express the inherent complexity in the idea of the contemporary kibbutz, which integrates both the private and the public: the apartments are supposed to enable meaningful family life without separating from the community, on the one hand; and on the other hand, to allow for the future expansion of the individual family. The members of the group perceive themselves as being "average Israeli citizens", and they live in a conventional family setting, with all that this entails family meals, family sleeping arrangements and a basic family household.



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