Sustainable Desert Home
Single Family House
Ovnat, Israel
Photographer: Aviad Bar Ness

Nestled between the Judean Mountains and the Dead Sea, Desert Home is partially sheltered and well-positioned to utilize cross ventilation techniques and natural cooling and heating systems. The building’s form was created by carving outdoor, covered spaces from the rectangular volume to maximize the indoor-outdoor connection, which is emphasized by continuous floor tile covering the entire house and yard. The thick walls are heavily insulated for energy efficiency as white, sand stucco on the outer surfaces reflect the intense desert sun. To blend in with the surroundings, the exterior stucco responds to the color of the mountains, and a rust-colored finish is used for recessed areas. The windows are designed to offer coverage from the sun with additional room-darkening roller shades that are used to avoid solar gains.

The upper level is the owners’ sleeping quarters, while the lower level contains a library as well as an independent apartment for guests such as the grandchildren. The owners chose to reuse much of their existing furniture to avoid unnecessary consumption. The home features a solar system and indoor-outdoor spaces which include a covered entry patio, balcony, and large hosting terrace located off the living room. This simple, eco-friendly home allows the homeowners — the architect’s parents — to have a quiet life of studying, writing, and family.

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