Fattal Residence
New Country Houses
Links, Barcelona (2000)
Fattal residence is a secondary residence located in a most prestigious ski and summer resort high up in the Lebanese mountains. The altitude of Faqra is 1,500 m above sea level. The climate is ideal during summer but is subject to heavy snow fall during winter. The house is used as a weekend house during the winter ski season, and for much longer periods during the summer season. This explains the extent of the service areas. The basement area is used as a guest house accessible from the kitchen quarter. It can eventually be transformed into an independent apartment with a private entrance.

Lebanese single unit and residential vernacular architecture is invariably constituted of cube or a parallelepiped, that has a flat roof or a red-tiled pyramidal roof. The flat roof is more common in poor zones and in areas of the country with mild weather. The main fašade has a central triple arcade that corresponds to the central hall which was the main feature of these single unit residential houses.

In this project, our approach was to preserve the volumetry and the external stone of the vernacular Lebanese architecture but to change the rigid central hall plan and attain a more flexible design. The central hall design in vernacular residential architecture implies the use of a rigid symmetry in the fašade treatment. The introduction of a corner cross-vaulted loggia as a main feature replacing the perennial triple arcade has transformed the facades into a playful asymmetrical composition.

The use of stone, a material highly abundant in the Lebanese landscape, allows the residence to blend in with its surrounding feature landscape. It also provides a reading of traditional Lebanese stone construction. Moreover, climatic considerations imposed the use of local stone as well as the use of a red-tiled roof as both can sustain the freezing winter conditions. Such a transformation, however, remains in line with a key design concept which is to accommodate for a flexible design but to maintain a reading of typical Lebanese architecture.

In the design it was attempted to combine vernacular elements with personal solutions. Thus, for the facades the traditional symmetrical organisation was avoided to create a play of geometries and volumes.

© Simone Kosremelli 2013