YTAA – Youssef Tohme Architects and Associates
Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan and Ieva Saudargaite
Kornet Chehouane, Lebanon
Perched on a steep rocky slope in an area distinguished by its pine forest and captivating views of Beirut and the sea, this house is almost invisible at surface level. It offers no impression of itself. With little reference to scale and few walls, it challenges the notion of boundaries and norms in domestic space. Layered, it consists of three flowing expanses of inhabitable concrete.
These superposed cantilevered floors support the various elements of the brief, which are tied together by an internal ramp running through the villa. The open floors are presented as horizontal incisions that lend a certain structure to the rugged surroundings. Spacious inside, the cantilevered villa projects itself into empty space. Provocative, it surprises inhabitants with its interpretation of the landscape. With no outer skin, no envelope, it seems no more than an interior, all the more stunning for the way it creates apparently seamless interaction with the exterior.
Villa T shrugs off its surroundings. It seems to challenge the sense of dimensions and the relationship of architecture or space with its environment. It is as though in seeking to erase any impression of tethering, the house allows its inhabitants to live each day differently, if only because its 50-meter glass façade obliges them to live with the simultaneous impressions of a sense of security (interior) and of threat (exteriors).