In a beachside residential area of Herzliya, TEO (the Theodor Herzl Center for culture, art, and content) comes into view as a distinct single-story building, eminently lower than the neighborhood’s enclosed private mansions. The freestanding TEO opens up a wide panorama toward the west—the horizon over the ocean—thus rupturing the visual and social narrative of walled luxury villas this area of Herzliya is known for. The insertion of a fully exposed public cultural center as an event in the surrounding urbanscape was key to the design strategy.
TEO provides a unique functional facility to the city’s art-practicing and culture-seeking residents. The plan is designed within a 50 by 50 m2 around an offset central patio surrounded by the various programs: a music conservatory, a dance school, art and ceramics studios, a gallery, a senior recreation center, and a cafeteria. An upper partial floor houses a library complemented by a 300 m2 open deck.
The uniqueness of the design lies in the coherence of a precise geometric module that is strictly enforced throughout; Concrete (on-site casts & precast units), textured glass, and metal flow seamlessly from exterior to interior surfaces. Cutting-edge sealing techniques were used to protect the building from the rain while maintaining its flat roof silhouette and tight proportions.
The patio (292 m2) makes available a space of quiet and welcoming scale. The floated, draining floor provides a pleasing horizontal surface from which a single mature oak tree rises. Direct sunlight from above dynamically projects its presence across the patio’s surfaces, creating ever-changing visual compositions of organic against geometrical form.
Client: Herzliya development company Ltd.
Completion year: September 2019
Built area: 2500 m2
Location: Herzliya, Israel
Principal architect: Asaf Lerman
Project architects: Danielle Nagila, Nimrod Schenkelbach, Itai Bachor.
Photo credit: Amit Geron, Nimrod Levy
About A.Lerman architects
A. Lerman Architects is situated in the south of Tel Aviv in a locksmith workshop turned into an architectural studio. The practice was established in 2006 by Asaf Lerman, an Architectural Association graduate. Their portfolio consists entirely of public projects & Asaf is a well-known spokesman for the civic rights in face of the rapidly privatized world everyone lives in. Their team style working methodology is based on a careful analysis of the site and the mapping of its various contexts. They view the design process as a system with parameters that need to be articulated and prioritized. Once presented clearly, these parameters enable the team to precisely design the effects of architecture over specific layers of the mapped context. This unique working methodology has led A.Lerman architects, through architectural competitions, to design some of Israel's most renowned public buildings. Central to their portfolio is a series of architectural interventions into iconic buildings in Israel aimed at a re-activation of their public interphase and modern promise.