Situated on an extremely narrow site with eucalyptus trees along its southern & eastern edge, Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture’s design of the Faculties of Psychology & Economics Building at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya reflects several key considerations: a commitment to “green” architecture; a desire to create clear and dynamic relationships between architecture and its surrounding; and a commitment to effectively and harmoniously incorporate carefully defined functions within each building.
In the case of this project, Prof. Uriel Reichman, the President of IDC, delivered an ambitious program that included numerous classrooms that would need to fulfill the specific needs of the Faculty of Psychology, in addition to seminar rooms, computer labs, brain study labs and rooms dedicated to experimentation, observation and research and effective monitoring.
The architectural response by Gottesman-Szmelcman was to design an elongated building that responds to the specific dimensions and limitations of the site. Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture introduced a transparent northern façade that would be able to exploit the benefits of the northern light while establishing a visual relationship with the campus. Thus, whether students enter or leave their classes, whether they choose to form discussion groups or study on their own within the common parts of the faculty or beyond, they are simultaneously a part of the building and its surroundings.
Rather than conveying institutional mass, the aim of Gottesman-Szmelcman was to project the building’s accessibility. Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture slightly raised the ground floor in order to enhance the “lightness” of the building, by underlining its delicate relationship to the ground and the surrounding eucalyptus trees.
In complete contrast to the building’s northern aspect, the southern façade is typified by its solidity and the incorporation of long narrow windows that introduce sunlight into the building with minimal thermal consequences. The pattern of long horizontal openings is extended both to the roof and to the sidewalk; creating a sensation as if the transparent northern façade has been wrapped in a protective skin.