An Oasis in the Galilee Hills


I’m leaving politics out of this post.  This is the home of one of Ella Iungman, one of the Israeli architects I have interviewed.  Isn’t it charming?  She invited me there to show me how all the ‘theories’ about her approach to her work, that we had spoken about in our interview, are embodied in her home.  This is a lady who loves people and diversity, and uses her architecture to build community – be that for a couple, a family or to bring together isolated Arab women in a rural village through indigenous crafts.  The architecture comes secondary to people in her work, if a building comes at all.  This is also a lady who loves nature and the land, and believes passionately that architecture should grow out of the place it’s in, and its people, rather than inappropriately borrowing styles and techniques from other places (a critical regionalist, in theoretical terms).  A lady who, when she moved to this village and built this house 18 years ago, designed and built a lovely little roadside shelter as a ‘gift to the village’, where local kids can wait for the bus away from the sun, and neighbours can sit together and enjoy the view.

Her mountain-top home is an absolute delight, nestled into a luscious garden full of discretely disguised and partially-concealed follies and delights such as broken ceramic pieces in the stone pathways, hanging glass globes from the trees, tilting urns and dry stone walls that seem to have sprouted out of the surrounding rocks all by themselves.  The house is a white-washed Mediterranean villa, with views from the upper floor to the Mediterranean, of course, and hints of Arabic influence.  I was reminded of Peter Aldington’s open-plan and garden-oriented houses at Turn End, and Luis Barragan’s critical regionalism and manipulation of light and shadow on sun-drenched walls (minus his bold colours).  You can see the place for yourself if you go and stay in her idyllic couples’ retreat at the bottom of the garden.  To whet your appetite, though, here are a few snaps.

H3 H2

H5 H4

Above: The Mediterranean-style villa, with Arabic influences

H6 I1


Above: Interior shots of Ella’s architectural studio within the house


G7 G6

G5 G4

G3 G2

Above: ‘Found’ objects in the garden, and walls that grow out of the ground

S2 S1

Above: The couples’ retreat in the garden, and the Mediterranean Sea beyond



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