| 19 : 15 – 26 March 2018 |
Designed by Zarta Studio, Mikveh and Women’s empowerment center near Sderot in Israel shows how sacred architecture can encourage experience and benefit society particularly women.
The proposed Mikveh centre – a Jewish feminine spa seeks to be a sanctuary for women’s spirituality and wellness. Housing a community hall, cafe and empowerment areas, the Zarta studio intends to engage women through communal support and connection. The Mikveh is a ritual bath designed for the Jewish rite of purification. A pool of water; it must be composed of stationary, not flowing waters and must contain a certain percentage of water derived from a natural source, such as a lake, an ocean, or rain. According to Judaism, Jewish man or woman should always seek to elevate themselves spiritually and one way of doing so is through Mikveh. The two storey building in close proximity to Gaza strip is handicap accessible and has exteriors covered in louvers to protect the interiors from harsh sunlight.
View of the upper floor level
Ritual bath area
From the Architect –
This unique structure is the product of a local initiative born from the desire to combine the needs of both body and spirit, with the aspiration to redefine the role of the Mikveh as a Jewish feminine spa. With the development of the renewed Mikveh initiative, arose need for a structure that would provide a solution to the tension between both introverted and exposed, private and social. The building has two floors.
Floor plans – © Zarta Studio
The upper floor, on the street level, functions as a meeting and empowerment area. It includes a multipurpose hall, treatment rooms and a cafe. The lower floor is partially excavated in the ground, with the bathing and immersion area is located in its center.
Sections and North elevation – © Zarta Studio
The two floors are connected by a patio that allows the light to reach the center of the structure. The building’s envelope is composed of louvers in different lengths that serve as a functional element of shading and enclosing, as well as an aesthetic detail.
Due to the proximity of Sderot to the border with the Gaza Strip, the building is planned as a protected area. In addition, the building is accessible to the disabled and is adapted to Jewish religious laws (Halakha).
The Mikveh Spa and a Women’s Empowerment Center reflects a two-way trend that is affecting Israeli society. Exposure and search from the secular side for a connection to Jewish customs, and on the other hand, a search for a broader experience alongside the religious experience of purification among the religious communities.
Project Name – Mikveh & Women’s empowerment center
Location – Sderot, Israel
Architect Firm – Zarta Studio | www. zarta.co.il
Lead Architects – Yishai Bider, Aviva Friedman, Avital Levine, Roy Friedman
Client name – Sderot Municipality
Completion Year – In progress
Built Up Area – 530 sqm.
All renderings – © Studio Ross