We wanted a retreat; an oasis where the users could work and escape the stress of an urban area and that is why the users chose an area ten kilometers north of Amman's median to low income housing district. The client admires free flow of space and the classic regionalist modernist houses of Amman. When we were commissioned the design, we agreed that we would do the total design and supervision. It was a very challenging task because this client is a special one, and had full confidence in my design work.
Finally, we agreed on the essentials of the house, four bedrooms, one storage building, two major spaces, the living spaces linked with living room to a twisted 4 bedrooms corner. I believed in the design of the house, we should try to find sense of order from what the client and the site told us, which is why the house took the upper plateau of the site overlooking Abu Nusir housing district, and overlooking the site, the landscape terraces.
The spaces which act as a major hinge between the guest and living spaces cover the bedrooms took free curvilinear lines, with a sliding glass window wall allowing for free flow of space between house and upper garden.
In my design approach I try to balance between rationalism and intuition in my work and draw on the experiences and places I've seen around the world. Being a landscape architect as well as an architect, there is something of the Mediterranean in me; a closeness to land, and its materials, plants, water, a living environment that is what I love to create.
All these qualities were delegated by the clients, who now confess that while they were asking for a peaceful environment; they secretly wanted a house that would also have a sense of grandeur and an element of surprise. The entrance, with two stone columns and a glass enclosure, emanates grandness and subtlety and faces north with the guest and dining rooms at both ends of the entry statement (Fig. 8.). As you walk through the lobby the eye is drawn to a salon area at the end of a five meter corridor "the hinge" and a fire place featured in the living room with curvilinear space. The eye is drawn up and out through the great sliding window curved wall of this central space.
When it came to the interior, we worked closely with the client focusing on simplicity. The structure was simple and the purity of it ruled out but one approach; use a light simple color scheme of three tones, white, light yellow, and a light peach, with a mix of oriental, Middle Eastern Jordanian pieces, and comfortable modern pieces in the living and dining rooms.
Hugh Newe Jacobsen is among America's more prolific designers of fine homes and he said: "to every good house, the sequence of entry is extremely important; the entrance begins to explain the promised volumes of spaces".
The landscape concept evolved upon two main concerns, the first was to develop a fresh Mediterranean all year-round splash of color around the house, and the second to provide a variety of Green foliage with aromatic value. When designing the landscape, concentrate on low maintenance plants with minimal irrigation requirements. The best approach in planting design is to have a smooth transition from summer to autumn; as summer draws to a close, gardens can start to look a little faded, but with clever planting, we can ensure optimal looks in autumn. Color and texture are the key elements to consider.
Therefore, plan color in the garden just like you would when choosing a decorating scheme for the house. We picked three of our favorites, and then I chose different tones and shades of each, harmonizing either cool or warm colors in the safest way for big borders and small areas, producing a feeling of composure and restraint.
Within the Eastern terrace we planted Sweet William using two colors, white and red in masses with a good combination of bulbs and in early July we planted Vincas (Vinca Major) using the same colors but with the different texture of Vinca.
A green backdrop played an important role in our approach, because without shrubs and evergreen, the entire garden would disappear underground soon after the first frost in late autumn. Taking into account the overall shape and form, about one third of the garden was made up of evergreen plants to provide all year-round interest.
Juniperus horizontalis, Buxus sempervirens, Livistona chinensis, Lavandula angustifolia, and Rosmarinus officinalis were planted in masses and acted as a green backdrop, we used many different shrubs, including those verging on silver, bronze, blue, yellow and gold, within that combination, plants with leaves that change to rich shades of yellow red, and orange were chosen because of their dual-season appeal and great value.
As you walk down from the upper plateau to the lowest one the garden begins. We planted six types of fruit trees (about 35 trees), Along the edge of the fenced wall barriers, vines were planted. The whole garden was covered with mulch and the soil was treated with rich organic matter while the thick layer of mulch conserves moisture.
Tel : +962 (06) 5711085.
Fax : +962 (06) 5711207.
P.O.Box : 33, Marj Al Hamam 11733.
Address : Althair, Sami Shams Eldeen St, Next to Rosary College, Bldg #43.
Amman - Jordan.