Contractor: Design / built
C&S Engineer: Ghassan Matta
M&E Engineer: Bachir Saadeh, Roger Njeim
Text description provided by the architects. Zgharta house sits in a Mediterranean olive grove landscape. The site slopes gently to the main road and
enjoys an unobstructed view of the agrarian plain and mountains. The house negotiates conditions of inclined topography, views and privacy by massing in two L-shaped horizontal levels that follow the natural terrain: The lower level comprises bedrooms, bathrooms, and technical spaces. The upper level is dedicated to the main living space, dining, kitchen and library.
The extrusion of the two horizontal levels creates a third space, an outdoor courtyard which allows the landscape to slide throughout the house. A u-shaped stone wall wraps diagonally around the two floors, creating an intense outer edge, and a serie of enclosed patios. In the lower level, the patios are a serie of inner gardens that inundate the bathrooms and bedrooms with natural light. In the upper level, the patio is an open air entrance porch. In contrast, interiors are fully glazed, opening up to the privacy of the patios, courtyard and to the distant mountain views. The roof hovers over the house with large cantilevers, bringing shade and privacy to the glazed living spaces below, and blurring inside and outside spaces.
From the street, the house is perceived as a serie of horizontal silhouettes that fade out in the ground, inscribing the house in its larger geography while giving it privacy from the proximity of the road.
The material palette comprises sandstone cladding for the site boundary and u-shaped wall, white concrete for the roof and structure, and low energy glazing for the inner facades. The southern orientation of the house and its massing allows for natural lighting, cross ventilation and passive cooling for all spaces; canceling the need for air-conditioning during the long Mediterranean summer, while benefiting from the optimum sun exposure during winter.