The site in Bahhath, where we have been asked to design a house, is not distinguished by a singular moment. Its topography and shape are irregular. As you walk through the land you experience a richly varied terrain of olive trees, patchy drystone walls, rocky out croppings and paths offering views across the valley to Iraq Al Amir. A network of hand cut channels carry water from a nearby spring to irrigate the land. Similarly our proposal follows a natural course along which the elements of the client’s brief are distributed: gate house, terrace, residence, pool, folly.
The main residence is a simple rectangular volume of two storeys situated in the midst of densely planted olive trees not far from the gate house. The land to the rear of the house is cut away to form a planted courtyard whose volume mirrors that of the adjacent living room, exaggerating its modest proportions. Large windows to the West and continuous glazing to the East give you the feeling of being amongst the trees. On the first floor views open up across tree tops to the valley below.
The pool and pool house have an entirely different character. A mound of loosely stacked stones and large boulders conceal an eccentrically formed series of top lit rooms. The construction of the pool house is uncomplicated; in-situ concrete, steel, timber and glass are put together in a way that is reminiscent of Alvaro Siza’s pools in Leça De Palmeira.