An old home, preserved, redesigned and made new again in the old city of Safed, Israel. This section of the city is made up of a spider’s web-like complex of homes and shops, built onto, and into, the hillside.
The old stone house was originally built in the shape of the Hebrew letter “Chet”, surrounding and inner courtyard. In its original layout, it contained five levels: a wine cellar level, three residential levels and an upper level of balconies and outer spaces.
The planning concept included both preservation and renewal, while connecting the inner and the outer and the public and the private. The courtyard, which is an outer space, now serves as a public space, while the peripheral spaces function as the private spaces in the new house.
The architects, Henkin Irit & Shavit Zohar started by documenting the original home and becoming acquainted with the various forms and material aspects of the site while exposing the site. Stone walls, arches, stone niches and an impressive water well were all exposed at this stage, after which the plan was created.
The house has an impressive vertical section and a light steel and wood bridge connects the two masses adjacent to the public space. This bridge corresponds with an original flight of stairs, which dictates the vertical circulation.
The house program includes a kitchen, salon and a dining corner on ground level. The cellar level contains storage place and a space for the landlords’ grandchildren to play in. The middle level contains a hosting unit—guest room—with a small bath. In the upper level there are sleeping and working areas with attached bathrooms. A bridge leads to the different two wings, which are also attached with balconies and outer spaces.
Lastly, the upper level is a large balcony with a view of the surroundings Old Safed and Mount Meron.