LEFT architects sites the 'house of many vaults' on a mountaintop in lebanon

LEFT architects sites the 'house of many vaults' on a mountaintop in lebanon

perched along the edge of the shouf mountains overlooking the mediterranean sea, the ‘house of many vaults’ sits below a shrine in the lebanese village of niha — one of the country’s most visited religious sites. designed by LEFT architects, the 30 meter x 30 meter (98 x 98 ft) residence is a reinterpretation of the cross-vaulted houses that dotted the surrounding landscape at the turn of the century. ‘a series of vaults, pertaining to the different residential programs, scale up both in plan and in section, in ascending slopes towards the view, and intersect with perpendicular vaults to create access points for circulation,’ explains the design team.

all images by bahaa ghoussainy



the dwelling has two very different elevations: a series of gables are presented to those approaching the property, while the rear of the home appears to have a flat roof. ‘the historic house volume is here redefined, from a normative pitched roof sitting on a box with cross vaults below, collapsing into a new geometry where the roof of the house becomes both pitched from above, vaulted from below and twisted from the sides to form the rectangular base,’ says LEFT architects.



responding to its sacred context, the house appears to ‘kneel’ towards the shrine, while opening up towards the view. internally, the vaults organize the program on both of the house’s two storeys. the ground floor contains the main public functions, including the kitchen, dining area, lounge, office, and a guest bedroom. meanwhile, the level above accommodates two master bedrooms each occupying one of the four vaults.



project info:


name: house of many vaults
location: niha, lebanon
dates: 2010-2019
LEFT architects: makram el kadi, ziad jamaleddine

team: daniel colvard (project architect), fumio hirakawa, karie titus, elie melki

landscape architect: vladimir djurovic landscape architecture
MEP+S consultant engineers: rafik el khoury and partners
lighting consultant: PSlab

contractors: ACON
photography: bahaa ghoussainy

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