How Bassil Mountain Escape Creates a Dramatic and Memorable Feeling
Bassil Mountain Escape, by Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture in Faraq, Lebanon.
Designers face different challenges with every project they make, but these do not stop them from being innovative and putting a soul into every work they do. Designers never stop thinking out of the box, in order to create something new and refreshing. There are different factors and aspects in every design, but they all lead to the same goal: Providing spaces that are livable and functional. For landscape architects, the goal is to create spaces that will help people relax, contemplate, and reconnect with nature.
In a fast-paced era like today, people often experience stressful days that make them want to escape from their busy city lives. Some people want to run away from the noisy streets, from the busy people, and from their stressful work. There are also times when people just want to stare into the vastness of the universe because it helps them to relax and think about nothing but just how beautiful life is. During these instances in our life, we all seek an environment that will calm and refresh our minds.
Bassil Mountain Escape
Bassil Mountain Escape is a private residence in Faqra, Lebanon, that was built to be a vacation house for the purpose of relaxation and entertainment. This place was designed with spaces catering to various events and moods. The designer’s intention was not just to provide a recreational and resting place, but also to give a dramatic and memorable feel in its garden.
However, the site offers only a limited space, soe the designers needed to carefully manipulate spaces in order to make the most out of the area. The designer’s goal was to create an illusion that would maximize the sense of space and give a unique experience.
The Picturesque View of Infinity – Water
The challenge for the designers was to create spaces that catering to different functions in an extremely limited site. In order to create a sense of infinite space, the designers tried to manipulate the spaces in such a way as to blur the boundaries between the site and the horizon.
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The residence’s garden only has a 4.5 meter setback around the house. The designers tried every possible way to expand the sense of space by creating an illusion. First, undesirable views in the righthand section were hidden and more emphasis was given to the desirable ones. In the pool area, a cantilevered water mirror that expands both physically and visually was installed. This created an illusion of infinity by framing and aligning the usable area in one focal point.
Residential Design Honor Award
“Innovative and poetic. The landscape architect brought the elements of space and beauty together to create a very restful, livable place. The project shows great poise and restraint. This designer knew exactly when to stop.” – 2008 Professional Awards Jury Comments
A Design Breaking Boundries
The entire design is composed of an upper and lower level. In the upper level, the entrance area welcomes you with a solid stone staircase with linear, lavender-filled planters aligned along the entire length of the house. The dining area is an intimate, recessed seating area shaded by a wood canopy and stainless steel, a raised water mirror, and a cantilevered, negative-edge Jacuzzi.
In order to break all the boundaries and limitations of the site, the Jacuzzi is positioned in such a way that it captures the breathtaking view of the mountains. Floating stepping stones made of solid stone and red cedar wood lead down to the bar.
On the lower level, the negative-edge swimming pool blurs the boundaries again while framing the impressive panoramic view from the indoor lounge area and the outdoor entertainment terrace and sitting area. A long, linear bench functions both as a resting area for visitors and as a sitting area for large gatherings. It also acts as a safety balustrade.
During cool evenings, there is a built-in sitting area with fireplace to keep visitors warm. Considering the aesthetics, the designers concealed the BBQ zones in a wooden shelf between maple leaves. Lastly, there is a narrow staircase that leads guests back to the main entrance.
It’s hard to put nature in the center of a project, especially when you are given only a limited space, but as a designer you must be seriously creative and innovative. How would you put soul into that project? Given a limited space, how would you put nature at the heart of the project?
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