“Bait Al Sharq”, which means “House of the East”, is a project rooted to its region.
The brief was to create a project that represents the Client’s family to the public but also providing a private escape and get-together environment in a unique contemporary home atmosphere. This brief was to be combined with a mission to investigate all aspects of regional architecture. A project that authentically addresses its context and incorporates both means from the traditional and the technological.
This project, developed in close collaboration with Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture, benchmarked an ambitious level: Landscape and Architecture working together to create a sustainable regional project that protects the inhabitants from the harsh environment but reflects at the same time all the sensual subtleties of the “Garden of Paradise”.
The design process from phase 1 to phase 2 illustrates the investigation of the design team and the client around the elements that define the habitat of people living in the middle east. Where phase 1 combines in an abstract contemporary way the evident sculptural values of the traditional regional architecture with the history and sensuality expressed in the Islamic garden, phase 2 combines these elements and reflects on them by investigation of the essence, a layer deeper down in the regional way of life.
Landscape and architecture melt in one intention, one expression, one materialization. Landscape defines sensorial experiences and particular spaces, while architecture generates scale, atmosphere, and protection. A fusion of elements with the ambition of creating one exclusive and distinctive feeling of “home” that offers a range of experiences, a contemporary gesture where tradition, local culture, and identity are visible and reinterpreted.
Long and vertical architectural elements of stone are placed at east/west direction in order to protect and benefit from both harsh sun and beneficial winds and to allow the landscape to flow in between the different levels. Different landscape elements or types of garden provide the different experiences but also organise the adequate hierarchy between the spaces, uses, and needs of the program. The display of the stone masses creates flow, spatiality, and visual connections in one open plan concept where the border between architecture, space, and landscape can no longer be strictly identified.
In contrast with the protective and solidity expression of the wall elements that are materialized in warm and soft Syrian stone, a triple layered roof structure in both opaque and perforated thin bronze panels completes the global expression of the project. This thin and delicate extended canopy not only provides the adequate sun protection, through a dramatic dimming of natural light, but also generates a visual framing of the surrounding vegetation.
Emphasizing the regional dimension of the project, the main landscaped areas around the project express a desert scenery of indigenous trees, acacias Arabica, and crushed gravel paths. This harsh sustainable approach evolves gradually into one central lush green oasis at lower ground floor. Full of fruit trees, palms trees, water features and shadowed spaces this central area establishes the main outdoor living experience for the family.
The functional program's main elements to be identified in the architectural project are the Majlis, the main villa and tree family villas. The Majlis represents the family, a formal place to meet and welcome special guests at the main property’s formal access. The living quarters of the 4 villas, separated from the public life in the Majlis, are placed around the central oasis, the heart of the composition, a common central area and private garden at lower ground floor level with special leisure facilities that provide a unique indoor and outdoor living experience, the central place of the project where the family can meet away from all formal aspects of public life.
Vincent Van Duysen Architects
Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture
In collaboration with:Vladimir Djurovic