Lebanese architects Nabil Gholam blend a terrace house into the stunning landscape at Faqra
The H Chalet by Nabil Gholam
Tucked into the steep landscape of Faqra Club, Mount Lebanon, the H Chalet is a vacation home designed to cater for a family of four, with a slight accent to the parent’s activities. Subtle games of hiding, exposing, gazing and peeking shape the dynamics of the program. The base of the house is blended into the landscape with the use of the ancestral language of local stone terraces cascading to make use of sloping agricultural land. The local stone and rough finishes working with the simplicity and the purity of the form, relate the project to its rural vicinity, highlighted by the presence of massive limestone rocks. The side walls are almost blind to secure privacy from the neighbors; with minimal opening to access the side terraced gardens.
The house reads as 2 shifting concrete boxes placed on the landscaped terrace.
The shifting responds to the very tight building limits for the site, yet benefits from opening different angles on the breathtaking view, with a privilege for the master bedroom.
The night areas are located in the concrete boxes, whereas the living is at the lowermost level extending outside to a terrace. A pool at the edge blends the terrace through its reflection with the view beyond. Due to its glazed longitudinal walls this pool at its depth gives substantial lighting to the playroom situated in the basement, which in turn can get a playful view of the swimmers and the view at the other end.
Two circulations happen in the house: one direct and internal and the other indirect and external. The internal one is integrated in a service bar that anchors all levels. The external circulation is more of a promenade down the different levels of the terraces and gardens of the house. A third “secret” stair connects the main living area to the playroom in the basement. The dining area enjoys a double height ceiling and is connected visually to the master bedroom floor through a free shaped hole in the slab. Thick walls, deep openings with low-E glazing and green roofs work to stabilize the temperature inside and absorb the climate extremes, leading to an improved quality of life paired with a reduction in energy consumption. Sustainability is enhanced further through the use of the local excavated stone on site for the finishes of the terraces and the base of the house, and through collecting the snow water that is filtered to be used domestically as well as for irrigation.
Area: 415.5m² (net), 973.8m² (gross)
Architecture: nabil gholam architects
3D Images: nabil gholam architects, ateliers U and V-Pictures