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Ghais Residence

Beirut, Lebanon
Aborted 2006

The Ghais Residence is situated on Lot # 4727 Msaitbe, on a 2175-square-meter plot in Ramlet el Baida. The plot enjoys a prime location, benefiting from an exceptional unobstructed sea-view, in a high-end residential area of the corniche frontage.
Our design strategy proposes to capitalize on the distinct features of the site by transferring the reference level to +18 meters, whereby the core functions of the program are elevated high above the potential nuisance of the adjacent highway, while enjoying a panoramic view to the sea on the upper levels. This also allows us to clear most of the ground level from built mass. The resulting perception of the residence, unlike the conventional neighboring residential typologies, is that of a box floating over a densely planted landscape
The main reception area is located in a suspended box, clad in painted glass and supported by bundles of braced steel columns. It occupies the entire top floor, with a large glazed window to the sea, and an introverted terrace, overlooking the garden on the ground level, which allows access to the roof. The roof-terrace is a wide leisure-platform located at +18 meters. The wood-clad terrace-deck, accessible by both the spiraling ramp and the hydraulic reception platform, incorporates the pool-deck, bar and barbecue area, hence allowing it to act as an extension to the reception.
A rectangular pavilion stretches itself along the length of the southern side of the site, accommodating the bulk of the ‘residential’ program. The parents’ quarters (living room, office, pantry, and guest area) are located under the reception level at +8.2 meters. Their bedroom pavilion is contained in a wood-clad box hanging from the belly of the reception, and is accessible from their living area through a glass bridge. The son enjoys an autonomous apartment at +4.2 meters, with his own independently serviced living area, and guest bedrooms.
The ground floor consists of a central garden with dense landscape, with for main feature, a central ramp which spirals its way up to the roof-terrace. The car enters the plot into the central court, engulfed by the surrounding landscape, creating an internal drop-off area for visitors. The gym and projection room are also wrapped by the dense greenery and are located on either side of the entrance lobby. A transparent glazed fence wraps around the site and its sloping landscape, allowing a continuous perception of the greenery.
Two additional basement levels cater for the services including a central kitchen with its auxiliary functions, as well as the staff residential quarters.