Mechanical Engineering: WTA
Structural Engineering: Nabil Salibi
Collaborators: Jean Nmeir, Leen Shamlati, Dany Arackji
Garden Area: 15,000 m2
Text description provided by the architects. The house is situated in Chatine, Mount Lebanon, it is built in a mountainous setting named Qalʽet el Hsar, meaning “the besieged fortress” in Arabic. The site had been a gravel quarry abandoned 30 years ago, which left a sunken space surrounded by remaining rock formations.
Even though the ground has been dramatically reshaped by the stone extraction activities, the project is delicately inserted into the edge of this protected place.
The house consists of two main levels; the upper one includes the family spaces and a protected terrace while the lower one engages with the outdoor and includes the receptions and service areas. The slight rotation between the two levels gives the lower one a favorable north view and the upper one exposure to the eastern sun.
The two levels are connected by a void linking a south-oriented skylight with the natural rocks of the cave beneath. The skylight ensures solar heating in winter and contributes together with the cave in providing natural ventilation in summer. The house is reduced to two raw concrete slabs anchored in the rocks and a wood-framed glass skin thus inscribing it in the site like a seasonal shelter.