EcoVillas Building

A Proposal for Green Living in Israel, Architecture Competition, 2014
The Jewish National Fund in cooperation with the Israeli Green Building Council
Ramot neighborhood, Be’er Sheva, Israel.
Architect: Eran Kafatn, RecoD

Design Concepts

Israel’s limited land reserves don’t allow low-density construction as an ecological solution, therefore the romantic notion of an “ecological” single-story villa is inappropriate. Nevertheless, the desire to connect with nature and a unique living space, along with the rise in economic status of part of the population, is accelerating the privatization of natural and agricultural land for the construction of new single-story settlements and neighborhoods. In order to slow this trend a substantial shift in the approach to ecological building is necessary, one which allows a quality of life similar to that of a single-story home but with an urban density. The Eco-Villas building is a new proposal for green building which employs an ecological sling to cradle living spaces with similar qualities to those of a single-story home. The realization of a “dream villa” within the vertical urban context will contribute to the preservation of land reserves for public welfare and to reducing our ecological footprint.

The EcoVillas Building concept: Ecological Villas in a Green Building Structure

The building is composed of an ecological frame, which allows design freedom and ecological infrastructure for the different living spaces. To this end, interference with the building façade is minimal; mainly for maximizing privacy, improving esthetic uniformity, and providing a range of climatic solutions to the whole building; such as orienting facades according to the sun’s path, maximizing exposure to southern winter sun and minimizing exposure to heat gains from the east and west. The structural frame provides the eco-villas with built-in solutions for; renewable energy production, passive heating, passive cooling, natural lighting and natural ventilation. The various climatic systems are based on the utilization of the local climatic conditions in Be’er Sheva: north-western winds, high diurnal temperature variations during summer months, low humidity, and low cloud cover during winters. Additionally, the systems address summer heat loads, heat waves during transitional seasons, and low winter temperatures. It is estimated that the building will be a zero energy building; requiring no energy for acclimatization.

Solar Orientation: Best Protection & Exposure

Eco-Villa is a living space located in a shared residential building which, similar to single-story villas or houses, allows the construction of a unique building envelope and attached garden. The space is required to meet a number of design principles shared by the whole building, in order to achieve maximal climatic efficiency, preservation of sustainability principles, and basic esthetic uniformity. However, the unique building frame and its infrastructure allow the different residents to hire architects to design their unique living spaces – a two-story house and garden – according to a number of design principals included in the building regulations. Additionally, the building infrastructure the construction platform and service elevator, allow residents to refurbish the building envelope in a similar fashion to a regular villa throughout the years. To this end, aside from the building frame (which supplies thermal mass), the eco-villas must be made from light-weight construction materials (such as compressed straw bales, wood, or aerated concrete blocks).

EcoVilla: View from Outdoor



EcoVillas Building

South-East View


Public Areas at Entrance Level


Landscape & Meeting Areas



An Example for Upper Floor (vary for each Villa)


An Example for Main Floor (vary for each Villa)


Interior View of Living Areas (vary for each Villa)


Interior View of Dinning Areas (vary for each Villa)


Climatic Elements

Architectural Section of Solar Geometry

Solar Power Generation (Shared)

Mashrabiya on Eastern & Western Double Facades


Natural Ventilation through Shared Hall and Villas

Climatic Passive System Embedded within the Walls for Heating (during winter nights) & Cooling (during summer days)

Climatic Passive System Embedded within the Floor for Heating (during winters’ days & nights)

Improved Micro-Climate through Fog, Green Wall, and Ventilation Systems


Display Apartment Unit

Entrance View of Display Apartment Unit


View of Display Apartment Unit from the Street