An apartment complex with an inner courtyard that allows for large curvaceous balconies open to the sky

Located in Neve Shaanan, southern Tel Aviv, in a degraded area experiencing rapid transformations, Fein 1 Central apartment complex introduces much needed housing and street-front commercial spaces, while partially preserving fragments of the existing building on site. The area is part of Tel Aviv – Yafo Municipality’s master plan to transform and uplift the city’s decayed southern district. The neighborhood’s cultural and economic growth is part of its gentrification process, focusing on culture and creating a new, more open and progressive profile for the neighborhood. Part of this growth will be the addition of the new premises of the renowned Bat Sheva Dance Company right across the street, and the new light rail station next to Fein 1 Central.

Following the brief’s requirements to provide small apartments with cross ventilation, HQ Architects moved away from the characteristic Tel Aviv building typology by inverting the typical box building inside – out, and resolving both issues at once. The new 6,400 m² six-storey building introduces an inner courtyard, which becomes the focal area of the complex, allowing for large common balconies that are open to the sky. Fein 1 Central has a strong community character from its beginning since it was initiated and built as a co-op residential project. The apartment complex maintains a strong community spirit by featuring generous shared spaces, such as the red courtyard area and large curvaceous balconies that serve both as pathways and leisure spaces for residents. These meeting and gathering spaces are key elements in promoting and sustaining the residents’ community culture. The courtyard, apart from offering valuable community space, it also contributes to a more sustainable living, as it promotes low energy consumption by offering shading in the summer and penetration of direct sunlight in the winter.

Fein 1 Central contains medium to small apartments, incorporating 53 apartments comprised by 49 two-bedroom apartments, 3 three-bedroom apartments and a 1 four-bedroom apartment. The scale of the apartments is allowing young families and young professionals – a major affordable housing local demographic, to remain in the neighborhood. In addition to the residential use, the building includes 9 retail units while incorporating 350 m² of existing fragments from the old structure.

The building’s facade is minimal and symmetrical in an off white color- typical of local Tel Aviv architecture. Playful color contrast between inside and outside is used to emphasize public and private spaces; a strong red color is used in the courtyard offering a more private and airy shelter from the hot and busy street. The organic shaped balconies present a fluid form, which also contrasts the strictly symmetrical exterior facade, creating a clear distinction between street and shelter.

The apartment complex features a private 5 – level underground parking in an area that is very dense, and lacks the vehicle parking space. Also, it was important to create minimal car exposure, and for the neighborhood to remain pedestrian friendly.

Design and info © HQ Architects

Images © Dor Kedmi

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