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So many layers of history and architectural movements overlap in this house, which architect Raëd Abillama expanded and furnished for his brother’s family. The original building, a traditional single-story house with a central hall and four adjoining rooms, was later expanded with the additions of an upper storey, a loggia, and more.
The loggia’s slender columns and pointed arches reveal that Lebanese architecture has been strongly influenced by Italy since the Renaissance.
During the civil war, which affected the country from 1975 to 1990, a grenade hit the house and damaged it severely. In 2003, it was fully restored and passed on to its current family of five with a modern addition.
Old and New, Soft and Hard
The addition is subordinated to the historical substance in terms of volume, but at the same time showcases itself as something new. In contrast to the rough-hewn, almost soft looking, lime-washed lime sandstone walls of the old building, the cube with its polished natural stone elements and orthogonal openings is hard and angular.
A living room and the three children’s bedrooms are housed in this new part of the building.
On one side, the living room area opens onto the patio; on the other, it opens onto the courtyard contained within the shape. Here, the hall motif of the original building is quoted and translated into a new, contemporary design.
While the two girls’ rooms are slightly set back, the son’s room has a more extroverted attitude and is oriented toward the courtyard.
Each Room Tells Its Own Story
The furnishings play their own part, allowing the architect to tell a different story in every room.
Here, USM Modular Furniture Haller unfolds its entire range of possibilities in order to enrich the living areas with color and functionality: The USM Haller furniture is quite naturally at home between antiques and Eames or Jacobsen design classics – as an elegant storage piece and orange splash of color in the hall, or as large brown, green or white walls of shelves in the children’s rooms.
Here, they provide ordered structure and become the screens on which the children can project their dreams, with many different ways to use the space and the interplay of open and closed surfaces.
Architects: Raëd Abillama Architects, Lebanon
Photographer: Géraldine Bruneel, France