Dbayeh, Lebanon
© Wissam Chaaya

Situated in Dbayeh, between Beirut and Jounieh along the coastal route, Villa LRA takes both the Mediterranean Sea as well as the surrounding properties into account. The villa is one of four houses, which make up a whole of private and communal family grounds. The essential design of the project is based on a composition of different ‘boxes’ defined by different materials. These boxes work to heighten integration within the surroundings, and to limit the impact of total volume and scale, which encompasses five floors in total.


The ground floor offers double height ceilings to create a sense of space and maximize the presence of the sea as a focal point, as well as the 28-meter long infinity pool. The open kitchen, dining and reception areas all benefit. Windows also open out towards the garden at the back of the house, which includes a seasonal family farming area. Highlighted materials in these areas include: Iranian travertine, fair-faced concrete, and oak wood with striated finishing details.


The first floor, where the main bedrooms, family area and music room are located, embodies a more enclosed feel, appropriate to the more intimate scale. However the use of large windows in the family area and main bedroom still invite the sea view in. Another floor up, the roof level is home to a children’s play area, a guest bedroom, terrace garden with olive and pomegranate trees, as well as a smaller planting area. The sliding glass doors offer views onto the city of Beirut as well as surrounding populated hills.


In addition to an 18-meter long indoor pool, office and guest areas can be found one level down from the ground floor. Both indoor and outdoor pools utilize the same Iranian travertine that can be found throughout the house, thereby connecting outside and in, as well as up and down. Other materials found on the pool floor include fair-face concrete, terrazzo with marble aggregate and oak wood. A pool-length window with wood detailing creates an effect of glass striping, which faces and frames the adjoining garden replete with bougainvillea bushes and eucalyptus trees.


All floors are joined by a sculptural staircase, which works as a centerpiece to the house and seems to defy gravity with thinly chiseled travertine appearing to float on the side unsupported by the wall. A custom designed elevator has an open ceiling to heighten the sensory feeling, black steel mesh walls and a travertine floor.


Exterior surfaces of the house include shaved concrete with a terrazzo finishing of Carrara aggregate; rough fair-faced concrete; and wood, glass and steel detailing. Villa LRA is surrounded by oak, parasol pine, weeping willow and jacaranda trees, among others, as well as a landscaped pond populated by Koi fish and lilies, in addition to the lawn and outdoor pool. Though the surrounding area is urban in feeling and the coastal highway is near, the house is part of a peaceful green oasis, the inhabitants of which strive to show respect and gratitude towards the land through environmentally friendly practices such as utilizing solar energy, composting, and water-responsible planting.