Zarchy architects
Sde Boker Dormitories
The proposed project is an extension of the existing dormitories in the Sde Boker campus. Sde Boker is located in the Negev desert in the south of Israel, an area noted for hot summers and mild winters; a dry climate with large temperature swings between day and night.
The challenges set forth by this project were manifold. The primary task was to create comfortable, spacious and cost effective dwellings that enunciated their communal function while fostering privacy. This was achieved by clearly articulating private space within the diversified public space.
Aesthetically, the structure was conceived in the image of a desert canyon, enabling it to fluidly integrate into the surrounding landscape. We propose one-story dwellings with a private yard attached to each, packed densely along a neat and pure geometric street plan in a compact layout.
A series of gently undulating concrete walls with a textured finish are inserted into the site on a 7.0 m grid. The dwellings are generated between the concrete walls in a north-south orientation, along public passages that naturally open into small public piazzas.
Given the geographic situation of the structure, sustainability was an important element of the design. Density and compactness minimize the exposure of exterior walls while optimal thermal wall insulation works from the inside. The narrow streets of the compound are cooled and shaded by the mass that defines them. Double skin roofs are slightly sloped to collect rain, to insulate, and to channel the flow of heat. The north-south orientation of the living quarters saves energy for south facing rooms during the winter and for north facing rooms during the summer. Additionally, the rooms are laid out to facilitate natural ventilation while the small private yards act as buffers against harsh wind and sand.

Sde Boker