Architect, urbanist and scholar, Rafi Segal received his PhD from Princeton University and his Master of Science and professional degree from Technion–Israeli Institute of Technology. Segal has over 17 years of professional experience including collaboration with Zvi Hecker on the design of the Palmach History Museum built in Tel Aviv, and senior designer for several urban projects including a master plan for the Boston Seaport District on behalf of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. He recently re-established his own practice in the US, which is involved in both research and professional work. Among the office’s current work is Villa 003 of the International Ordos 100 Project in Inner Mongolia, China; the Kitgum Museum for Peace and War Archive in Uganda; a housing project on the island of Andros, Greece; and participation in the MoMA project and forthcoming exhibition Foreclosed: Re-housing the American Dream. Segal is co-author of Cities of Dispersal (Wiley and Sons, 2008), Territories – Islands, Camps and Other States of Utopia (KW, Walther Konig, 2003), and A Civilian Occupation–The Politics of Israeli Architecture (Verso, Babel, 2003). His work has been reviewed and exhibited internationally at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York City; KunstWerk, Berlin; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Kunsthall, Malmo; UC Berkeley and others. He teaches architecture and urban design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is currently visiting Professor at the Cooper Union School of Architecture.
Projects & Links
Ashdod Museum of Art
2000-2003 (Exhibition Spaces and Interiors)
The design of the Ashdod Museum of Art accepts but challenges the notion of the White Cube as the modern ideal space for exhibiting art. A series of White Cubes were scattered and piled one on top of each other, in three levels, within an emptied out existing building interior. A new and independent structure, made of the repetition of the uniformly dimensioned rectangular rooms (White Cubes), was constructed within the existing shell. Two kinds of spaces were created: the interior of the White Cube, and the irregularly shaped ‘left over’ spaces trapped between the exterior of the White Cubes and the interior of the existing building. The visitor moves between these spaces, in and out of the White Cubes. The outcome is an ambiguous structural circuit that runs through the different parts of the exhibition. The visual, spatial, and material elements of the design create a composition that promotes chance discoveries and unexpected encounters.
Total built area: 1400 sqm
Materials: Steel, Plywood, Gypsum boards.
In collaboration with Eyal Weizman, Manuel Herz
Project Architect: Merav Twig
Client: Ashdod Municipality
Set Design for a theatrical production premiered at the Ramat Gan Theatre, Israel 2002 and at Lincoln Center, New York City, Summer 2003.
In collaboration with Eyal Weizman, Julika Gittner
Client: Ensemble Itim -- Rina Yerushalmi Theatre Group
Archipelago of the Negev Desert, A Temporal/Collective Plan for Beer Sheva, Israel 2008
Countless efforts to establish a dense and active city center for Beer Sheva have failed. Its extreme desert climate, culture, and socio-political conditions have not allowed the development of a traditional city core. In reaction this new plan for Beer Sheva proposes a de-centralized urban scheme, in which the city is fragmented into distant neighborhoods, allowing the desert to flow through it. The existing urban inner city voids are expanded to a point where they become continuous; creating an ‘ocean’ of desert space in which the island-like neighborhoods are scattered. This ‘ocean’ of unclaimed land becomes a transient public space. Within it designated collective areas/zones are formed, each inscribed with a new temporal program, with its own
cycle –timeframe of activity: desert agriculture, recreational area, temporal tent housing and more. The city’s existing public buildings are incorporated within these areas, mediating between the neighborhoods. From an environmental, ecological point of view – these continuous inner voids prevent the city from becoming one large mass, allowing the desert and at the same time the city to 'breathe'. The native nomad Bedouin tribes take part in activating these spaces, as places of passage from one part of the desert to the other.
Project area: 117.5 sqkm
Total recovered public space: 40 sqkm
Project Team: Yonatan Cohen, Kate Snider
Kitgum Museum for Peace and War Archive
2010- under construction
The Kitgum Museum for Peace and War Archive is conceived as both a memorial to the victims of the civil conflicts in Uganda and as a museum space for cultural heritage. A new exhibition space in the form of a circular path serves as the primary organization element of the museum, connecting outdoor spaces and engaging the existing surrounding buildings. The path architecturally is conceived as an open space. It serves as a curatorial device that allows for individual freedom- freedom of movement, interaction and ultimately the framing and interpretation of events. Visitors will create different narratives and interpretations as they are given the freedom to encounter the material as they wish. Within the larger built conditions of the site, the exhibition as path unites disparate buildings and programs, allowing for new interactions and possibilities such as a market space, open air stage, a memorial garden and other programs. This pathway structure encloses a central public courtyard as a space of reflection and reconciliation, in memory of the victims of Northern Uganda’s long term fighting.
In collaboration with David Salazar
Project Team: Andrew Amarra (Project Architect), Landry Smith, Edgar Muhairwe, Olivia Ahn, Gabriel Bollag, Iddo Ginat, Ian Kaplan, Jeremy Jacinth, Jeremiah Joseph, Harry Murzyn, Louis Rosario.
Client: The Beyond Juba Project, Refugee Law Project. The Human Rights and Peace Centre and The Faculty of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Chris Donlan (Director); Moses Chrispus OKELLO (Project Coordinator, Senior Research Advisor); Andrew Simbo (Program Manager)
The white rectangular volumes of the Korthi houses step down the terrain, echoing changes in topographical order while allowing the movement against the mountainside to become the guiding principle of their arrangement. Where the volumes meet the ground generous outdoor spaces extend outward, connecting the interior functions and activities of the house with the site at large. Dining, cooking, sleeping and playing all find adjacent outdoor space. Sometimes covered or semi-enclosed, appropriately fitted for their respective uses; an intimate terrace shaded during the summer mornings for breakfast, a panoramic balcony exposed to the sky and sea, semi-covered resting areas, a wide dining and cooking terrace for the evenings. As one moves within and outside the house, the notion of place is recreated through a sequence of framed views. The continuous paths which pass through the inside and outside become unifying elements. The stairs located along these paths are designed to emphasize the connection between spaces and to accentuate the experience of the site. The separate volumes and spaces of the house are connected through movement within the landscape.
Lot area: 20,000 sqm
Total built area: 1050 sqm (five house of 150 sqm - 250 sqm each)
Materials: concrete block, stucco, local slate stone, wood, aluminum.
Project Team: Landry Smith, Ian Kaplan, Katherine Moya, Louis Rosario, Ricardo Solar.
Executive Architect: Stefanos Pandos, Vlasis Karayannis (Studio75, Athens)
Developer: Isle, Ltd
Ordos, Inner-Mongolia, China
2008- under construction
Counter to the notion of the house as a free standing object, Villa 003 is conceived of as a landscape-like element that extends the surrounding grade and covers the entire site. This tilted surface becomes the roof of the villa where a series of spaces are carved out, creating a sequence of courtyards that function as an extension to the interior programs of the house: dining, living, sleeping, working and cooking. The courtyards are joined through a central outdoor space that reads as a kind of crack, connecting the edges of the site. On special occasions this space can be used as a passage between the neighborhood street to the west and to the open area of the museum and artist residences to the east. Movement through this central passage and its adjoining courtyards defines the experience of the house, a space which is internal, yet open to the sky, therefore creating the sense that the house is always open.
Lot area: 1670 sqm
Total built area: 922 sqm
Materials: concrete, stucco, wood, aluminum.
Project Team: Sara Segal, Laila Seewang, Ping Kwan
Executive Architect: CADRIG, Beijing