Penthouse defined by a cladded wooden skin and a floating structure suspended from the ceiling through vertical steel profiles
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Area: 7.000 ft²/ 650 m²
Photography: ©Wissam Chaaya
“The project is an interior refurbishment of a two floors penthouse for a family of four, located in Wadi Abu Jamil in Beirut Central District. The original arrangement of the penthouse presented a fragmented circulation between its two floors with poor spatial interaction, and a narrow main foyer.
The most significant spatial intervention was the introduction of a double height space at the center of the house, reorganizing around it the once fragmented realms of living areas, work areas, storage and bedrooms.
Defined by a cladded wooden skin, such element features a widened entrance that transitions smoothly to the reception and brings back to its center the staircase as a feature element.The stairs become a floating structure within such space, suspended from the ceiling through vertical steel profiles that emphasize its lightness and its detachment from skin and slab, as if it’s floating in the middle of the double height space.
The wooden skin’s form reconciles the different misalignments and provides a curvilinear horizontal and vertical continuity between the widened lobby and adjacent spaces on both floors. This skin integrates doors to adjoining rooms, storage closets, see through cutouts and incorporated lighting.It turns the corner to maintain the same treatment for the inner living room wall. Steel profiles stick out of the skin to create door handles and shelves. Complementing the minimal materiality, a playful custom made steel and copper lighting fixture hangs from the double height reception.
In contrast with its wooden skin core, the remaining surfaces of the penthouse are white paint for walls, white marble for floors and white steel for the staircase. The different rooms are designed with a recurrent system of having the exterior walls painted white and the internal walls with different playful wood cladding to incorporate doors, library and closets.
During its development and execution phases, the project became an exploration of the wide array of means for both designing and fabricating architecture on the light on local craftsmanship constraints.”
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