Architect: Studio Toggle Location: Al Bida’a, Kuwait Year of Completion: 2016 Design Team: Hend Almatrouk, Gijo Paul George Photographer: Gijo Paul George. Structural Consultant: Al Turath Consultants Main Contractor: Al Nisf Co.
The F.LOT house can be described as a minimal composition of 2 seemingly floating masses intersecting at right angles. A 5m cantilever adds drama and gives the composition its unique character. The challenge was to cater for the clients need for a clean open design at while tackling the issues of privacy and shade from the desert heat. Inspired by Donald Judd’s compositions and Louis Barragan’s work, we strived to create a composition that would shield itself from the desert sun by the virtue of its aesthetics.
The form evolved from our attempts to create dramatic self-shading volumes using perpendicular intersections and cantilevers. Clean lines and use of white emphasize the purity of form The house features a 15m long pool which appears to float above the parking. The pool bisects the longitudinal volume which houses the main social spaces and the living quarters.
The open-plan ground floor is organized on either side of the pool, which is quite clearly the focal point of the house. These spaces flow into each other connected by a bridge which is enclosed by panoramic sliding windows. The barrier free design of the ground floor is emphasized by the open kitchen and dining, with sliding-folding doors, giving unrestricted access to the landscape/deck and the pool.
The basement houses the ‘Dewaniya’ (traditional Kuwaiti gathering space for men), parking for 3 cars under the floating pool, and the staff quarters. The Dewaniya opens into a large courtyard at the basement level, covered in white pebbles, which breaks up the harsh Kuwaiti sun and lights up the basement spaces in a glow of diffused natural light. The first floor houses the private living quarters and is lit by panoramic windows on both sides.
Aluminum louvers and deep recessed balconies offer effective sun-protection and mitigate the heat gain due to the large window openings. An austere palette of white plaster, exposed concrete and white epoxy flooring gives the social spaces a sense of ethereal openness reminiscent of an art gallery. The first floor on the other hand features solid teak wood and rough-cut travertine cladding giving the living spaces a warmer texture.