Ther­apy? It’s all in the de­sign for UK ar­chi­tect be­hind women’s cen­tre

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NAOMI FIRSHT

THE WOMEN and chil­dren in the pic­ture above may look as if they’re im­pris­oned be­hind high walls in their se­cluded Tel Aviv gar­den.

But the walls are there to keep un­wel­come in­trud­ers out — and to give the women the con­fi­dence they need to live be­yond them again.

Theres­i­dentsare­al­lvic­tim­sof do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in need of some­where safe to re­cover be­fore they feel able to re­turn to the out­side world, some­thing Lon­don ar­chi­tect Amos Gol­dre­ich was con­vinced the build­ing could help them achieve.

He set out to pro­vide pri­vacy in the form of small flats, but to en­close them inan­in­ter­con­nect­edvil­lage,which­helps the women to de­velop their in­de­pen­dence.

Work has al­ready be­gun on the shel­ter, which will have two façades: an outer se­cu­rity wall with a high fence, and an in­ner façade, which borders the court­yard.

For Mr Gol­dre­ich, that in­ner court­yard will per­form the func­tion of a “ther­a­peu­tic heart” — a safe, cen­tral point where res­i­dents can meet.

He said: “I think the build­ing will pro­ject calm­ness through the fact that it is pro­tected and safe from the out­side world — or hus­bands — and through the cen­tral heart of the build­ing: the in­ter­nal gar­den.”

Ac­com­mo­da­tion will be made up of 12 small homes sur­round­ing the court­yard, one for each fam­ily, and a com­mu­nal din­ing hall and nurs­ery. Mr Gol­dre­ich said the goal was to make it feel like a “mi­cro-vil­lage”.

The de­sign is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween his firm and the Is­raeli com­pany Ja­cobs-Yaniv Ar­chi­tects, and was com­mis­sioned by Is­raeli char­ity No To Vi­o­lence.

Mr Gol­dre­ich, who was born in Is­rael, also has a per­sonal con­nec­tion to the ven­ture.

A few years ago, his fam­ily had b e e n l o o k - ing to cre­ate some­thing in mem­ory of his l ate grand­mother Ada, a fem­i­nist who did a lot of char­ity work.

His mother, Ta­mar, ap­proached child­hood friend and No To Vi­o­lence founder Ruth Ras­nic, and to­gether they ini­ti­ated the pro­ject. When Mr Gol­dre­ich’s mother died, it was de­cided to name the shel­ter in mem­ory of both of them: The Ada and Ta­mar De Shalit House.

Plans had been in the pipeline for six years but the pro­ject suf­fered sev­eral set­backs when res­i­dents liv­ing nearby ob­jected. A num­ber of the claims went to court but were dis­missed by the judge, who gave the con­struc­tion the green light. The £2 mil­lion pro­ject will be the char­ity’s first pur­pose-built shel­ter and is be­ing lo­cated in a quiet neigh­bour­hood near schools and shops. “I hope it will pro­vide safety and a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment to what the women have been used to, and help them re­turn to a bet­ter life,” said

Mr Gol­dre­ich.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the shel­ter’s in­ner court­yard

Amos Gol­dre­ich ( be­low) and a model and plan of his shel­ter de­sign

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