Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem


Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Wall coverings have been peeled away to reveal a vaulted stone ceiling that's several hundred years old inside this refurbished apartment in Tel Aviv.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Israeli architects Pitsou Kedem removed walls between the sandstone brick columns to create an open plan living and dining room surrounded by arches.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

An exterior wall was replaced by a thinly framed glass arch that now links the living room to a balcony overlooking the port of Old Jaffa.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The architects installed Corian shelving and surfaces to rooms, as well as a stainless steel kitchen.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

A transparent glass cylinder surrounds a shower in the bedroom.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Framed glass doors provide access from this bedroom to a second outdoor terrace.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Other refurbished interiors featured on Dezeen include a Tokyo apartment with the appearance of an elegant building site and a former poet's house converted into a writer’s retreat.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Photography is by Amit Geron.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Here are some more details from Pitsou Kedem:

Jaffa Flat

The language of minimalism imbedded in a historic residence in Old Jaffa.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The 100 square meter residential home is located in Old Jaffa. Its location is unique in that it is set above the harbor, facing west with all of its openings facing the majestic splendor of the Mediterranean Sea.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Whilst it is difficult to determine the buildings exact age, it is clear that it is hundreds of years old.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Over the years, it has undergone many changes and had many additions made that have damaged the original quality of the building and its spaces.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The central idea was to restore the structure's original, characteristics, the stone walls, the segmented ceilings and the arches including the exposure of the original materials (a combination of pottery and beach sand).

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The building has been cleaned of all of the extraneous elements, from newer wall coverings and has undergone a peeling process to expose its original state.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Surprisingly, modern, minimalistic construction styles remind us of and correspond with the ascetic style of the past, and this despite the vast time difference between them.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The central idea was to combine the old and the new whilst maintaining the qualities of each and to create new spaces that blend the styles together even intensify them because of the contrast and tension between the different periods.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The historical is expressed by preserving the textures and materials of the buildings outer shell and by respecting the building engineering accord.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The modern is expressed by the opening of spaces and by altering the internal flow to one more open and free and the creation of an urban loft environment along with the use of stainless steel, iron and Corian in the various partitions, in the openings and in the furniture.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

The project succeeds in both honoring and preserving the historical and almost romantic values of the structure whilst creating a contemporary project, modern and suited to its period.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Despite the time differences, the tensions and the dichotomy between the periods exist in a surprisingly balanced and harmonic space.

Jaffa Flat by Pitsou Kedem

Design team: Pitsou Kedem & Raz Melamed

  • Daedalus

    naked women in building photographs…. brilliant!

  • Wow. I am so fascinated with concave designs. It's really nice and impressive. The styles are so Mediterranean and it's really a perfect abode.

  • Deepsea

    Beautiful, I could live here.

  • H-J

    Great modelling!

  • Steve

    Anyone know the designer of the sofa with white legs in image # 4?

    • Andrea

      the designer is Jean Marie Massaud and the sofa is produced by MDF Italia (www.mdfitalia.it)
      The model name is YALE

  • Molly

    Can anyone shed light on who the makers of the sofa and armchair are? They are fantastic but I have no idea who the makers are. Thank you.

  • Xaya

    @Steve and Molly
    The sofa and the armchair is made by MDF Italia (YALE)

  • nico

    wow this project is stunning. i love the character of the walls and the lighting compliments the vaulted ceiling in an amazing way. that shower (and its patron) are great a favorite as well

  • Nadia Habash

    Authenticity is very important in cultural heritage preservation. It should be mentioned that it is a Palestinian house occupied by Israelis and that the original inhabitants were kicked out of it.

    • Tal

      Please, there are plenty of other places to discuss these issues. As an Israeli, I can say 2 things: 1. I get here to read about design and architecture, not politics, and I find it astonishing that the whole world seems to never get enough of our local (relatively small) conflict. 2. There is very little truth in your words (if any at all), yet, as I said, this is no place to discuss this.

      • yousef

        the truth that this house was stolen from the original owners hurts, thats the truth

        • Fadi

          The fact that you think such a complex issue can be accurately summarised in half a sentence is enough to tell any reader that you are woefully misled.

    • Mick

      Design and architecture is not just design and architecture! …it's is political, social and should be ethical…..
      It's an important point, as architects and designers we should see beyond the superficial to the real, for me this house cannot be appreciated in light of its recent past.
      I would also not say it is a 'local' or 'small' conflict either- to say this is a disservice to all Palestinian and Israelis who have died from it.

      • Tal

        Hi Mick,
        This conflict is part of my personal life in many ways (sorry for not getting into details). I'm not undermining it. I'm just saying that the interest the global community takes in it is by no means proportional to it's actual size (compared, let's say, to African ethnic conflicts). I agree that design and architecture are social (and therefore political sometimes). My only claim was that this is no place for political discussions, and that there are many other suitable platforms for that.

  • Ludwig


    I think it's Jean Marie Massaud

  • Eduardo

    The existing structure, columns and vaulted ceilings, are all simply beautiful of course.
    But the intervention within it is wholly unremarkable.

  • Moez

    What's most heartbreaking about this project is the knowledge that the 'flat' was once a home to generations of Palestinians.

    I'm also saddened by the blatant irony of steirlising this evident heritage by "honoring and preserving the historical and almost romantic values of the structure" by paradoxically "cleaned of all of the extraneous elements."

    Property appropriated through colonialist means should not be celebrated, no matter how much money & lavish furnishings are shoe-horned inside.

    Also interesting that Palestine or Arab aesthetics have not been mentioned at all by the architects or the article despite reference to the +100 year history of the building and the extent the parties involved underwent to 'preserve' it.

  • Corbac

    Revealing the structural palinsepst behind the plaster of an old flat is a riské cultural intervention in Jaffa, now a suburb of Tel Aviv. I wonder whether it ever makes the current tenants think where the original owners are and how they lost possession of their home.

  • Moez

    I love how there are silent spammers tallying negative points to comments that raise the legitmate phallacy of neglecting to acknowledge the fundamental cultural and ethnic heritage in a building that is by all means Arab and Palestinian, with signature Islamic arch ways and templed dome ceilings as Israeli.

    As if -[n] somehow delegitimises the obvious and apparent fact [to anyone with awareness of history, social responsibility and accountability as the curator of communities aka architects and the accuracy of identifying the origin of 'heritage' beauty, especially when it claims to have been 'preserved' by the designers].

    Dezeen, as a respected online journal, I would and should hope that these very unpolitical, but very necessary omissions in understanding the origin and aesthetic beauty of this house is fully appreciated by our designer colleagues and subscribers around the world.

  • elias

    first. one hundred years ago there was no town called Telaviv, perhaps There were a few tents, like those seen today in Telaviv
    seconds. maybe if you ask the owner of the original house and some other real expert in historic architecture you will know when this house was built(all stones have age)
    from the point of view of the restoration, never inside the houses are stripped from the plaster. for many reasons, first they are not comfortable,second for the sound and heat quality and third because the plaster protect the stones from moisture and sea salt (this if we intend to protect the stones)

    • Tal

      elias, you are simply spreading ignorance. Tel Aviv was founded in 1909. Look it up in Wikipedia or any other reliable source you respect (and let's not go into who came where when. Open a bible, read some research, it sounds like you may be surprised). The least you can do is stick to facts, even if it's not as popular as it used to be.

      • Corbac

        I love the powerful metaphor provided by this flat. It seems that the only way the new inhabitants can adapt to the newly conquered territory is by slowly turning into Palestinians by absorbing little elements of native culture into their daily lives, as you see here it with the elements of the vernacular architecture.

        Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and evolved from a few tents in the sand to take off as a modernist city when Central and Eastern Europeans arrived in the nineteen-thirties as political exiles. Yet, their grandchildren today crave to live under moresque ceiling and go to the length of stripping the plaster from the walls to visually project their act dwelling into the past.

        I want to object one thing with Tal, which is the use of sacred texts (of any sect or religious grouping) as sources of factual evidence. This would downplay not only the hard work of many generations of scientists, scholars and engineers who spend their life looking for clues and building empirical knowledge for everyone. This would – most importantly – downplay the stronger, lasting value of those texts, which is proving spiritual guidance.

        • Phill

          Hi to all, this house and many others in old Jaffa was belong to a church, and the church sold some of them to private and public hands

          • Ari

            Interesting, Victor. If you visit a few refugee camps in Gaza or the West Bank you will see that old women still keep the keys or even the official records written in Turkish proving their ownerships of those dwellings. They initially thought they would be allowed back after the 1948 violences. Most of the Jaffa harbour area was owned by families of tradesmen (many specialising in citrus fruit) rather than a Christian clergymen enclave.

          • victor

            Dear Ari, in old jaffa many christians use to live, by the way also today you have two importanch chrches, so pls lets dont judge in details that we not sure.

          • Ari

            Dear Victor, that they were Christians does not automatically mean they were clergymen and everything was owned by the Catholic or Maronite church. They were indigenous families who practised a form of Christianity and today their children are known as Palestinians. Thanks for keeping a civilised tone in a discussion like this that always threatens to degenerate.

        • Tal

          Corbac, the amount of arrogance your comment reflects is outrageous. Sitting somewhere hundreds of miles away from a region and providing deep psychological analysis of its culture based on a few pictures, with no demonstrated familiarity with the region, is probably a privilege kept for those who have enough comfort to become megalomaniac.

          The bible, by the way, is a powerful evidence used by scientists, scholars and engineers. I am not a religious man and don't take everything written in it as a plain fact. And yet, anyone who ever got inquisitive enough to actually try and read it knows that it contains many factual descriptions which are in no way spiritual. Once again, if you don't feel comfortable using it as a source, you may rely on any reliable academic research regarding our region.

          • Corbac

            Tal, you are totally right when you say that looking at a series of photograph and using it to interpret the complexity of the facts on the ground amounts to arrogance and why not, some megalomania. But I have travelled several times through Palestine and Israel, not simply visiting but working with people of all ideological and religious convictions to build my understanding of the situation on both sides of the divide. This included at times taking some risks, but I accepted them because I believe Palestine/Israel is an incredible laboratory where techniques of spatial control are tested and the findings then apply to anyone in the world who is subject in some form or another to any degree of authority. In the process, I have madly fallen in love with this tiny corner of the Mediterranean and I feel really involved in how things develop. I believe the worst mistake people do when talking about the tension in Palestine/Israel is to mention human rights, or even worse history and religion. These fields are matter of endless dispute because are beliefs that reside in the individual understanding of every single human being. On the contrary, I make a point to always talk about what is logical and rational to do, because the minimum any form of authority has to look after is the enduring welfare of its subjects/citizens, and in Palestine/Israel there are no governments on any side really working toward this aim. I hope this answers your question how come I sound so arrogant and megalomaniac.

            As for the bible, once again you are right. It is a wonderful source of historical information about daily practices of ancient communities. Of course, however, these descriptions have to be corroborated by evidence, otherwise we would have to believe everything the Aztec sacred texts say and be adamant that next year is the end of the world. In the case of the Fertile Crescent, the archeological and genetic evidence suggests that there is consistent continuity between all communities that have lived there over the centuries. What changed was their cultural beliefs. But again, this to me should not be relevant in this discussion, even if the contrary were true, I see no reason why we should turn the clock backwards. If all communities in the world made this sort of claims, it would be the end of all us. Violence and misrule happened at all stages of history, but now we should just take the situation as it is and deal with it, try to provide the same level of welfare to all the people subject to one authority.

            Thanks for making your points, and sorry for the length of my comment.

          • Tal

            Continuing such a discussion over this platform is a bit difficult. I'll just say that as someone who visited here (and hopefully got a slight chance to taste the reality behind the best show on CNN), you should know how shallow and dishonest the global discussion regarding our region actually is, and therefore be careful and respectful when expressing your insights. The amount of 'likes' comments on this site get just for standing against Israel, no matter their content, is evidence of how this sort of trash talk takes peace one step away from us all.

            Thank you for your replies.


    This is the house that I want to live in when I return to my country ((Palestine)) … =)

    • Ayham

      When we return to our home land Palestine, we will make all houses as beautiful, and even more. VIVA PALESTINE!

  • Excellent pictures. So fresh yet so ancient!

  • tamara

    If these walls could talk.

  • Grace

    By the way, this a Palestinian home. It has been taken (to put in a nice way), so behind this beautiful remodelling is a very tragic story.