Therapy? It’s all in the design for UK architect behind women’s centre
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
An artist’s impression of the shelter’s inner courtyard
Amos Goldreich ( below) and a model and plan of his shelter design