Villa Kali

Villa Kali is situated in front of the Mediterranean Sea, on the coast of Lebanon in the town of Mounsef, north of Beirut.

The site is close to the ancient seaport city of Byblos, one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world and one of the most ancient Phoenician cities.

Architects Patrick Mezher and Walid Ghantous (BLANKPAGE Architects) and Karim Nader (Karim Nader Studio) have been working on the project for this luxury beach-front mansion for almost four years, designing every single detail of a house that reinterprets a series of environmental aspects of the site: the sunshine, the air, the rock formation of the coastline on which it sits to embrace the seashore without any unnecessary mediation other than the perpetual sound of waves crashing onto the shore.

The house, inspired by the nearby rock formations in its composition of overlapping levels, refers to the layout of traditional homes where rooms are grouped around a courtyard. The courtyard here opens up completely towards the sea, the two side volumes set at an angle that allows them to embrace as wide a horizon as possible, nature flowing through them. In this sense, the topography and the rock formations of the coastline continue ideally within the house; the sea itself is very much part of this residence as water and the salty breeze dialogue with the stratification of its architectural elements.

Villa Kali has a total surface area of 2,000 square meters and consists of two volumes opening towards the sea in a V-shape with connecting bridges. The two side wings direct people’s gaze towards the Mediterranean through an ample staircase that leads from the garage to a reception area, in the very core of the house. Around this more public area, that may be sheltered or totally opened up to the elements by means of a sliding glass door system, are the living room, the bar, the gym, the kitchen. From the reception area one may step out onto the terrace, walk towards the pool, descend towards the beach. The two upper floors contain 11 bedroom suites, each with views of the shoreline and the water, and other living rooms. A suspended terrace at the ground floor facilitates circulation between the two wings. A garden roof completes the composition, referencing once again to the rock formations of the site.

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Villa Kali, delivered just in time for the summer of 2016, is a major 2,000 sqm, 11 bedroom seaside mansion, designed as a full commission from the architectural scale to interior and furniture design and selection. It is a four-year effort that involved collaborations with numerous designers and contractors that truly inspired the renewal of the possibility of architecture as a total work of art.

Revisiting the traditional oriental home in a seaside setting – a house with several bedrooms that surround an open courtyard with a water fountain – this version of the concept is achieved through a splitting the volumes into two horizontal movements that open up towards the Mediterranean allowing for uninterrupted sea views to all spaces of the house. The external void revealed by this split of the volumes reveals a cascading spine with a terraced staircase and water pools that gently fall down from the entrance level all the way to the seaside garden via the bridging reception area. The glazing system in the reception can slide away completely creating a cross-ventilated outdoor covered space that can be inhabited across seasons in the pleasantness of the shade.

The architectural language of the house is inspired by the stratification of the nearby rock formation on the shore, at once graphic and dramatic. The language articulates a series of superposed horizontal planes, thin and extending. Every one of those planes becomes the support for a variety of programs: a lower public level at once internal and external, houses the reception areas, gym area and outdoor pool terraces all the way to the shore. The two upper levels house a multitude of bedrooms with family living areas on both levels and a spectacular mid-space suspended terrace equally open to the back garden and the horizon on the seaside. The final layer of this horizontal composition extends the circulation all the way to the roofs in the form of suspended gardens and outdoor terraces.

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