Hugging the coastline

Nick Myall
17 Aug 2017

Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture use white fair-faced concrete to echo the existing topography and integrate this building's façade into the surrounding sand dunes

Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture, the award-winning Israeli-Franco firm, unveils The Arsuf Residences, located in the gated coastal community of Arsuf, Israel, north of Tel Aviv. Nestled within a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea adjacent to Apollonia National Park, the 10 private residences negotiate between the dramatic landscape of the coastal sand dunes and the built environment.

A long planned development, The Arsuf Residences began over twenty years ago as an invited competition. The waterfront project by Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture was designed to maximize sea views while leaving room for individual experimentation with the interior design of all 10 private residential units. The residences feature large western-facing terraces and cantilevered concrete caskets that define its form and allow expansive views of the Mediterranean Sea.  

Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture chose to both construct and adorn the building with white fair-faced concrete to echo the existing topography and integrate the building's façade into the surrounding sand dunes. The firm overcame a number of municipal and environmental concerns in their strategic design to counter an unstable terrain, a strangely shaped plot, a highly corrosive environment of sea salt and occasional high winds all while situating the 10 unique residential units to accommodate quality sea views. The asymmetrical columns of the building rise from the dunes to support the structure and mirror the patterns of the OSB boards that act as a shuttering material. Layers of greenery were introduced to mitigate the scale of the building in relation to its neighbors.  

Due to the offsetting of the apartments and terraces, the firm was able to create a spectacular internal space of Piranesian proportions with dramatic horizontal bridges and self-supporting stairs and vertical shafts.  The overall impact is duplicated by a dark reflective pool at the bottom of the building and is highlighted by a lighting scheme that underlines the richness of the volumes.

The Arsuf Residences' interiors are a collaborative effort between Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture and external designers and architects who completed the interior aspects within each specific unit. The firm encouraged the residents to choose their own interior architect to promote a truly unique and diverse internal aesthetic. Many of the chosen and recommended collaborating designers began their careers at Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture.

Asaf Gottesman comments, "It was our view that the building would benefit from a diversity of perspectives and interpretations and that the building was so strong that it could serve as a wonderful case study of how individual clients and their designers would address the potential of each space." 

This innovative choice was one of Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture's greatest achievements in the project to accommodate the various clients creative freedom. Rather than forcing a standard solution, each resident was able to maximize the potential of their space, rendering each residential unit unique and beyond comparison. 

For more information about Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture, visit

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