A contemporary outlook on traditional Arabic architecture.
The design for the Marissa duplex apartment building is based on the traditional Arabian central courtyard housing typology.
The project is placed at the south-eastern edge of the site in continuation with adjacent urban blocks, while the parking and private campus (including gardens and children playground) are located in the middle, acting as a buffer between the project and neighboring buildings on the west.
The apartments are laid out around a central courtyard which contains a garden, water feature, vertical circulation and access corridors. A double height “void” on the ground floor signals the reception space of the building and guides the visitor onto the internal garden. All residential units enjoy distinctive characteristics depending on their location:
– Apartments on the ground floor are conceived as villas with private gardens and most of them enjoy a private car parking with direct access from the adjacent roads.
– While all the duplexes on the second floor benefit from rooftop terraces accessible by an external staircase within the double-skin facade. These rooftop terraces with pergolas, greenery and ample living space act as elevated private gardens.
A thin ring of balconies supported by a steel exoskeleton encircles the building. These balconies act as private external spaces shielded by a double-skin of hollow cement blocks. This double-skin is simultaneously a privacy screen and a powerful passive shading device. The internal living areas extend outwards onto projecting “wooden” boxes that are very reminiscent of traditional Arabic bay windows. These balconies have slide/fold musharabiyyas to control the desired level of privacy, making it possible when fully closed, to be seated outside and totally veiled from prying eyes.
Materiality: The building is a fairly simple concrete structure on a rectangular grid finished in pre-painted plaster. It is wrapped in a double-skin consisting of a steel skeleton that is infilled with white Klostra hollow cement blocks. The “Arabic” balcony bays with their musharabiyyah slide/fold panels are clad in Parklex high pressure wood laminate panels.Read Less