K & M House

K & M House

Raed Abillama Architects
Metn, Lebanon
Project Year
Private Houses
© Géraldine Bruneel | © Joe Kesrouani

Footprint 1000 m² | Built-up 2000 m²

Raed Abillama Architects as Architects

The house consists of a roof, attic, reception floor, bedroom floor, parking/pool deck floor and a multipurpose hall floor. The program encompasses an Entrance, Main reception hall, Secondary reception hall, dining hall, Main kitchen, Breakfast Room, Reception, Terrace, Master Bedroom, Master bedroom Office, Master bedroom Living, Master bedroom Porch, Guest Bedroom, Boy’s bedroom, Two girl’s bedrooms, Two kitchenettes, 10 bathrooms, Indoor Parking, Pool, Annex and a multi-purpose hall. The original house was essentially a single story central hall house with the main hall oriented along the north south axis. It consisted of four rooms and a main central hall with the back half placed on bedrock and the front placed on a barrel vault used for storage. A later expansion of the house involved the addition of a front porch with five arches as its façade and an expansion of the east façade about one and a half meters eastward. Another floor was added on top of the old house. The east rooms of the top floor were wider than the west rooms. The addition of a top floor was somewhat whimsical and disregarded massing issues. The result was a floor, which was square in proportion. However, several missing rooms on the southeast corner prevented it from being a full square plan. The Main façade (North Façade), though asymmetrical, retains its central hall triple arch vernacular. The civil war inflicted considerable damage to the house and the original timber roof was damaged beyond recuperation. A mortar shell buckling half of the west façade hit the southwest corner of the house. The original house was made up of soft limestone quarried from its own site. It was covered with plaster as it obviously had water leakage problems. In the first phase of the construction, a decision was taken to retain all structurally sound walls and to apply reinforced concrete jacketing on the interior faces. In the southwest corner a vertical circulation core was added as no vertical circulation existed initially and this location was the most technically feasible. After the analysis of the program and site, it was decided that a block of similar size to the old could be added. This new block was to be treated as a new building with its own dynamics, however, it was to be subtle enough so as not to overpower the iconic image of the old building nor disrupt the harmony of the project as a whole. The family to be housed consists of the parents, two girls and a boy. The children’s rooms are located in the more massive additional block and the zone in direct contact with the old is de-materialized creating a living room space, which expands to the outside along the North south axis. The living space extends in both directions into an interiorized courtyard and a front porch area through two corresponding circulation galleries. The context in turn is filtered into the living space heart by a gradation between inside and outside. The boundaries between inside and outside are hence blurred. The subdivisions of the façade also continue inward and the finishing enhances this gradation. The boy’s room reflects the extroverted nature extending onto the courtyard. The girl’s rooms are placed symmetrically to each other creating a more intimate relationship between the two. Both are buffered from the main common spaces creating a more intimate privatized zone. In the living room the idea of the central hall of the original house is given a different edge. The central circulation zone resulting from the specialized usage of the space is mapped onto the façade in the triple arch. The middle arch acts as the door giving access to the outside. In the new block the circulation patterns are better reflected in a module that creates four bays -- contrasting with the three bays and five bays of the old block. The spatial modulation is carried over to the rest of the facades and in the interior space and floor finishing. In the old block the highest vantage point is given to the main reception halls and dining spaces. The master bedroom and the guest bedroom are both placed in the old block on the bedroom floor. The modulation in the new block carries over into the old block in the floor finishing as well as in some intrusions of the ceiling system. This latter enhances the reading of the building as a whole and carries the dialogue from the exterior to the interior.

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