The concept design of Villa Monzer has been derived from the integration of several strong factors or design forces. These forces could be summarized as; the unique nature of Bekaa valley, the lifestyle of Monzer family and the culture of the Bekaa village in specific and the Lebanese in general.
Bekaa Valley: Is very well known for its vegetation carpets carving magnificent artistic pieces of art while integrating with each other. On the other hand these art carpets coherently coexist with vine yards extruding from the ground. In the design, this has been resembled through the multiple flat roof landscaped areas that shall be covered with both floor grass of different colors for each patch, and small deciduous trees which shall environmentally integrate within the building ecological cycle. These trees will provide sun shade during the summer for the south glass facades. On the other hand during winter these trees will loose their leaves and allow maximum sunlight/heat to penetrate the atrium of the project. However, from an architectural point of view these roof top landscaped areas diminish the boundary between levels thus the suite balconies ( explained later ) shall overlook natural gardens just as the ground floor ones do, but with more privacy and security. Last but not least these green carpets are expected to act efficiently in HVAC energy saving whether in summer or winter.
Family structure and lifestyle: Several design characteristics have been derived from the Monzer family structure and life style summarized as follows:
a- Unlike many other families who visit their village on weekends, the Monzers spend all year long within the village.
b- The children of the family are expected to use the project in the future hopefully with their future families.
c- The family has already collected a huge library of unique books, references and many others which have formed a very rich library.
The above could be read in many instances of design, especially in the integration of a multiple chalet style design around a landscaped courtyard. Each child shall receive an independent chalet including a living room, bathroom, kitchenette if needed and a small multipurpose room which could be used for; study, walk-in closet, playroom, or any other desired activity, in addition to a private balcony accessed directly from the bedroom. These chalets or suites surround an internal courtyard which could be, either indoor as in option 1, or outdoor as in option 2 depending on the preference of the users and budget. The walls of the chalets overlooking the courtyard could be treated with a transparent façade allowing for maximum integration of the nature within the users’ lifestyle. Thus the suites shall be surrounded by green nature from both sides at all times.
Culture of the Bekaa village: Is based on the strong family bonds and friendship relationships which are usually witnessed in gatherings, congregations and many other forms; whether on roof tops, front house terraces, gardens and under trees in the valley. This major cultural phenomenon has been replicated in the design, in the form of the big courtyard around which all the house is centered: all living areas, and suites. We expect that space to be a major activity for the inhabitants especially in the future. Where it forms a secure area for children to play and associate with nature. At the same time the occupants shall enjoy a private environment away from the eyes of neighboring villas and passer bys. As mentioned earlier, the courtyard could be either covered and included as part of the house indoors, allowing the inhabitants to enjoy nature even in the extreme weather conditions during winter, or uncovered as a totally natural outdoor courtyard, surrounded by the suites forming a hotel style courtyard distribution
The library wall: The book has been integrated within the design of the project forming the dividing partition between the living area and the passage to the bedrooms. This forms a corridor style walk way, where one can experience the books from both sides as in a public library. The colorful arrangement of books shall give a very lively and playful mood for both the living area and the room passage especially if integrated with light.
The project consists of :
- A large squared high ceiling living room space, which could be divided into 4 zones including the dining area and centralized with a stand alone chimney in the center. All zones shall overlook and be naturally lit by the landscaped courtyard.
- Large kitchen accessible from three locations; the parking, the entrance and the dining room. The kitchen extends to a glass balcony breakfast area surrounded by nature. The kitchen connects to a maid’s room, laundry room, guest WC, pantry area and storage room under the stairs.
- Guest Bedroom Suite including a small living area and bathroom.
- Parents’ master bedroom including WC, kitchenette, and walk in closet all on the same level.
- Three suites resembling the children’s bedrooms consisting of ground floor living room, WC, multipurpose room and a first floor internally accessible bedroom with an extension to a private balcony.
- Landscaped terraces
- Mechanical rooms