Designed in collaboration with Emad Sleiby
The structure of the original villa was designed to take the load of three additional stories envisaged for the use of Tawfiq Sleibys' children. We were asked to design a single storey extension which anticipated a further two stories being built in the future. Adding to the existing villa in a way that preserved its dignity while adopting another language for the extension required an idea; our approach was to establish a classical hierarchy whereby the existing villa is treated as a kind of plinth and the addition is trabeated.
The location of the staircase and the irregular shape of the existing footprint were given. By rationalising the form of the extension and taking advantage of the building's orientation we were able to make a large, South facing loggia which connects the living room and guest salon while maintaining a separation between the parts of the house used by the immediate family and those used for welcoming and entertaining guests.
The buildings of downtown Amman are often very abstract; the sharp contrast caused by strong sunlight hitting deep window reveals and loggias emphasises this quality. The design of the Sleiby House came from observations of this kind, and included some funny misreadings. For example we had thought that the cantilevered slabs which shade the South facing windows were a traditional shading device, as it turns out they are more usually unfinished balconies. Working in a new context, as we were at the time, is a bit like learning a new language. You make observations and work them into new configurations.