Documentation, Conservation & Design
Client: Mishmar HaEmek
Location: Mishmar HaEmek, Israel
Program: library, archive and administration offices
The Big House, designed by Joseph Neufeld, was built between 1933 and 1937 as the first educational institute of the Kibbutz movement in pre-state Israel/ Palestine. It was originally conceived as a self- governed ‘Children's Community’ within an enclosed campus where children lived, slept and studied communally, away from their parents. In the mid 1990’s communal sleeping institutions were abolished in all kibbutzim, and the Big House was vacated of its inhabitants.
In July 2012, our office was hired to develop a concept for its adaptive re-use. The proposed intervention highlights the building's existing architectural assets and reinterprets Neufeld's architectural concepts anew. It restored the building's centrality to kibbutz life by transforming it into a library and archive and kibbutz civic administration offices.