The Open House is a contemporary addition to a traditional mountainside family retreat. The house carefully challenges existing building code, not updated for more than seventy years, to re-invent a new courtyard-house typology inspired by the spatial logic of the traditional Lebanese House. Instead of adopting stylistic elements of columns, architraves and arches the Open House re-interprets key spatial elements of traditional architecture and its relationship to nature. It embraces historical context by emphasizing the history of space rather than style through materiality, scale, contextual integration and its re-interpretation of historical spatial concepts.
A key feature of traditional Lebanese architecture, the integration of the landscape within the fabric the house is integral to the design. Public spaces of different scale thus engender a series of unique social interactions. This fosters healthier family dynamics and greatly enhances social relationships.
Expanded project information:
Open House Abadieh – Lebanon
Type: House / Residential Area: 2,000 sqm Status: Permit Approval
“Extending, Expanding and Embracing the Landscape”
• Existing Site with Adjoining Plot
• Expanding Existing Outdoor Spaces
• Extruding the Outdoor Space into a Green Rooftop
• Extending the Ground Floor Garden into the Internal Courtyard
• Puncturing for ventilation and natural day light
• Linking all green terraces
On Past Relationships / Landscape and the Historical Context
The surrounding mountainous village once adhered to a unifying architectural palette of traditional stone, arches and red tiled roofs. The post-war era then resulted in a post-modern pastiche of these historical elements. Alternatively, the Open House embraces the historical context by emphasizing the history of space rather than style. The public living space of the traditional Lebanese house is now transformed into an interior courtyard. The sheltering red tiles are now a protective rooftop extension of the landscape. The traditional insulating stone is transformed into a translucent screen to reflect the summer sun during the day and radiate warm light from within at night. Rather than adopting stylistic elements of columns, architraves and arches the M1 house re-interprets key spatial elements of traditional architecture and its relationship the nature.
• Conventional Building Form
• Eliminating Third Floor & Pitched Roof
• Emerging Building Form
• Creating a Rooftop Green Terrace
• Extending Ground Floor Terrace
• Open House as a Green Extension
On Present Relationships / Landscape and The Social Context
A house extension for the next generation in close proximity to the existing parental home is a statement on family dynamics and inter-relations. Modest in height and scale, the new addition is equal in height to the garden pavilion, respectful of generational hierarchy. The positioning of the hovering volume on the terraced gardens creates a series of multi-level connections and enhances the connectivity between the two houses and the inter-family relationships. A variety of spaces of different scales cater to unique social interactions. From the expensive outdoor pool area that extends into the living space and interior courtyard to the more intimate shaded outdoor terraces, a series of different social interactions ensues. This allows the opportunity to foster dynamic family relationships across the many generations.
On Future Relationships / Landscape and The Emerging Context
The house utilizes the landscape as a linking agent between the existing residence and the new extension. Cantilevering over the retaining wall the house liberates the ground floor from any construction. On the ground floor, a column-free span of more than eighteen meters and a living space flanked by floor to ceiling glass on both sides emphasize the transparency between indoor and outdoor. This intrinsic relationship between indoor and outdoor is further emphasized as glass slides and vanishes within the green buffer allowing a direct connection from the surrounding landscape into the heart of the house: the interior courtyard. The roof serves as a green visual extension of the surrounding lush landscape, but also acts as a viewing platform to embrace the sweeping views. The extension of the landscape into the heart of the house, creates a unique synergy between the existing and the new, the exterior and interior.
Gross Floor Area (mq)2000
Design teamJean Nmeir, Ramy Khoueiry, Abeer Fanous, Dragan Vuković, Roland Nassour
ConsultantsBEATEC (Structural Engineers), AME Consultants (Mechanical Engineers), Ziad Helou (Electrical Engineer)
Domaine Public Architects was founded in 2012 by graduates from Harvard University. Our diverse portfolio of work includes projects in the United States, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Spain, Mexico and the Middle East. The practice is driven by an analytical approach, rather than a specific architectural style. Domaine Public Architects creates spaces derived from the specificity of context, historical precedent, and an understanding of functional needs.