Villa Elefteriades

Partner in Charge: Youssef Mallat
Architect in Charge: Richard Kassab

Project Description:

When the owner of one of Beirut’s most iconic music venues wanted a refuge in the suburbs, we considered the qualities that put his nightclub on the map: a unique blend of exhibitionism and discretion. Our goal was to balance those contradictory elements to create a peaceful sanctuary with dramatic flair.

The house would eventually stand in Yarze, on a triangular plot bordered by two narrow streets. It was the last parcel to burn in a recent wildfire, but the view of the skyline and surrounding pine-covered mountains remained intact. Our brief outlined a refined house featuring a garden and outdoor living space, both of which boast an air of exclusivity.

The design was rooted in the concept of the spectator and spectacle, where a monumental roof, accessible from an upper road, acts as an observation platform. It offers a VIP view of Beirut’s best act: the skyline and its spectacular copper sunset.

The roof sits atop a cluster of functions where everyday scenes play out between the house, its occupants and nature. A central concrete reception area features moving light partitions that, like grand theater curtains, allow occupants to isolate functions and continuously redefine the relationship between the interior and exterior. In contrast to the opulent interior of his club, the client wanted a simple interior with minimalist materials, and a wild landscape with little intervention.

To maximize the garden, we confined the house to the upper corner of the plot. This position allows the house to sit under the upper road’s incline, presenting visitors with sweeping, unobstructed views. It also provides a hardscape to supplement the lush greenery, and a place where children can ride bicycles or roll by on skates.

On one side of the roof, a set of landscaped steps leads to the lower garden. On the other side, the roof swells to form a mass that hosts an east-facing family room and bedrooms.

Two pocket gardens act as a buffer to the upper road. Down a monumental staircase, the first garden provides primary access to the house’s ground-level entrance. A smaller garden is an extension of the kitchen, creating a green space between bedrooms on the first floor and the neighboring plot. With distinct atmospheres, each garden acts as an isolated sanctuary.

From the instant inhabitants set foot on the property, views of the land and the sky are on display, and indoor spaces transform effortlessly into outdoor spaces. The result is home that, like the owner’s famed music venue, offers a unique experience at every turn.

Renders: Tony Antoun
Location: Yarze, Lebanon
Client: Jean Elefteryadis
Project area: 1112 m2
Year: 2017
Project status: In Progress;