Shoval Kibbutz Buildings, Negev Desert Architecture, Architects, Israel, Design

Shoval Kibbutz : Buildings

Architecture in the Negev – Israeli Community Design

14 May 2013

Shoval Kibbutz Buildings

founded 1946

Location: northwestern Negev Desert, southern Israel

Kibbutz Buildings in Israel

The key architectural aspect of this kibbutz are the houses by Moshe Safdie from the 1980s, located north of the centre. We ate lunch in the Dining Hall – or Eating Room – then saw a brief presentation on kibbutz designs – before touring the northern parts of the community.

Shoval Kibbutz Dining Hall – exterior – entrance, general view and sunshades
Shoval Kibbutz Negev Buildings Shoval Kibbutz Building Shoval Kibbutz Buildings
photographs © Adrian Welch

Shoval is a kibbutz in the northern Negev desert in Israel. It is located just west of the Bedouin city of Rahat. The community was founded by Hashomer Hatzair members.

Shoval Kibbutz Dining Hall – interior – mostly used for eating these days ; art class evidence
Shoval Kibbutz Shoval Kibbutz Building
photographs © Adrian Welch

The kibbutz was founded in 1946 as part of the 11 points operation by a gar’in whose members were of Hashomer Hatzair and immigrants who had survived the Patria disaster. The population of Shoval is about 600 people, 200 of which are kibbutz members. Shoval has two major sources of income; agriculture and plastics manufacturing. Its dairy farm is one of the largest in the area. Shoval kibbutz falls under the jurisdiction of Bnei Shimon Regional Council

Building immediately east of the Shoval Kibbutz Dining Hall:
Shoval Kibbutz Shoval Kibbutz Buildings Shoval Kibbutz Negev Buildings Shoval Kibbutz Building
photographs © Adrian Welch

Shoval has a large area of arable land for growing wheat, barley and potatoes, plus there are several chicken coops on the site itself. A regional high school – Mevo’ot HaNegev – serves pupils of the ages of 12-18 from the kibbutz and the surrounding settlements. The education system in the kibbutz also includes kindergartens. Young students learn in the Nitzanei HaNegev elementary school in Beit Kama.

Kibbutz houses by Moshe Safdie:
Shoval Kibbutz Buildings Shoval Kibbutz Negev Buildings Shoval Kibbutz Shoval Kibbutz Building
photographs © Adrian Welch

The styling is crisp and the landscaping has stood the test of time very well. There are only about ten houses and they are set at the lowest point of the site, north down the hill from the dining hall. The flowing landscape which is so typical of kibbutzes rolls around these homes, but in between are narrow hard-paved areas, with small courtyards. Apparently the courtyards aren’t much used at all, with residents preferring to sit in their covered porches.

We didn’t manage to get inside a house or speak to a resident, though we were shown round by a resident who lived elsewhere on the kibbutz and he provided some background. Moshe Safdie is best known for his Habitat housing in Montreal (expo 67) but in recent years more associated with major public projects, such as the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The layout and external design of these houses seemed to work well from my point of view but I would be interested to hear opinions of others, such as the residents.

Adrian Welch, e-architect Editor

Moshe Safdie

Modern building adjacent to the dining hall:
Shoval Kibbutz

Shoval Kibbutz images by e-architect

Adrian Welch – e-architect Editor

Location: Shoval Kibbutz, Israel

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