Project Name: Oneness & Otherness Apartment
Interior Design: Shiran Ishay
Lead Architect: Shiran Ishay
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Area: 70 m2
Photo Credits: Mikaela Burstow
The design of this project centers around three key architectural elements: vertical furniture walls, a horizontal and continuous concrete floor, and moving partitions. Together, these elements form a single, continuous dynamic space that can be divided into three separate areas based on personal or functional needs; creating a personal space that is carved out of the common space.
The vertical furniture walls are the main keepers of the domestic functions in this house, replacing the familiar plaster walls and doors. The seven-meter-long main furniture wall creates intimate or common situations, serving multiple functions such as dining, working, talking, playing, cooking, and more. It features four tables and eight chairs that can be folded out for social events or folded away to create a unified space for the family.
A concealed light gray heavy curtain within the furniture wall can be used to separate the common space. When guests come over, the curtain can be opened and hidden inside the furniture wall, setting up a large dining or living space. For a more intimate atmosphere, the curtain can be taken out to create a smaller space for individual activities like an office or yoga practice.
Another furniture wall separates the sleeping area from the dressing and bathroom areas. It has two facades serving two different needs: a floor-to-ceiling sliding door that opens to a closet and an opening to the sleeping area. The other side has a door leading to the dressing area, drawers, and a dresser.
The five-meter wooden partitions are another key design element that allows versatile use of the space when opened, closed, or half-opened. When having guests over the partitions can be closed, separating the sleeping and dressing area from the common space; marking a territory unreached from one side, while the other side is a private area with a closed transition from the bathroom and dressing area through the furniture wall into the sleeping space. When the partitions are open, they allow light and air to flow in from the west, creating a unified space for the family to spend time and create memories together.
While this contemporary architectural design exists on the inside, the outside of the apartment tells a different story. It is located in a three-story residential building from the 1930s in the German Colony of Jerusalem. The second and third floors were added in the 1960s, following the structure of the original building from the 1930s. The renovation of this apartment in 2022 is, in a way, another layer of the geology of the building.
In an age when living situations are becoming denser, the question of smallness often arises, mainly as a storage solution. However, I believe the question of size is not just about function and storage but rather a question about the reconstruction of relationships, families, individuals, and society. It requires a different pattern of living, involving behavior towards sensitivity and tolerance. With this in mind, this project is called Oneness & Otherness apartment.