The Glass House / by Karim Nader

Confronted with the unusual request of a glass house in the Chouf, we seek to engage the desired classical icon -its exposed black steel structure, oversized glass and otherwise warm earthy materials, with the technologies of the age and the heritage of our village architecture. 

In this process, a combination of an exposed minimal steel structure and natural stone masonry composes a strange hybrid that stacks three little pavilions atop a glass floor with a cantilevered ceiling while avoiding the use of concrete. On the ground floor, the plan articulates itself around a 'high-tech' openable central living room and bar bordered by two reflective pools, a fireplace living on the side, open kitchen and dining on the other. A system of minimal aluminum mullions makes the boundary of the house disappear to a maximal extent while the ceiling canopy, in wood, provides the needed warmth and shading. Panoramic views towards Beirut, Deir el Qamar and Beiteddine open up on a right angle at the intersection of the north and west terraces extending to a wide garden of olive trees, pines, play areas and pool with guest area below. 

Above the glass house, the pitched volumes contain three bedrooms for the children and a master suite towards the Chouf view. The stone construction is carried all the way to the interior of the hybrid, its texture always read all the way to the interiors of the bedrooms, bathrooms and changing areas. In between the three pavilions, two glazed passageways reassert the immersion towards the outside while the roofs are almost completely covered in photovoltaic panels, rain water collection as well as other innovative energy systems. 

In black and stone, the steel of Johnson and stones recycled from ruins of nearby houses, our vernacular tradition moves forward with the advent of new technologies and a globalized exposure to modernist international style for the pleasure of being, today, in rural Lebanon.

Project Status: Ongoing.

Project Team: Karim Nader with Karina el Hage, Christy Layous, Elie Naameh, Elias el Hage. 

MEP by EAK Signature office

Structural Engineering by Elie Turk

Landscape Design by IGA, Imad Gemayel.

Model Photography by Marwan Harmouche.