Located at the northernmost tip of Africa, where the desert meets the Atlantic Ocean, the Villa Skhirat is a sustainable, site-specific series of building components strategically placed within a spectacular seaside Moroccan landscape. The project is designed as a continuation of the strata of the site. Inspiration came from our client’s love of the Atlas cedar tree, a symbol of immortality, purity, and cleansing. The strength and structural logic of the tree were catalysts for creating the natural forms of the reinforced concrete building. The branch-like structure is translated into strands that become surfaces. These strands are heavy and grounded firmly, embedded into the landscape, and become increasingly lighter as the system rises and the necessity for the structure diminishes. The reinforced concrete and the natural form of the tree are entwined in the design and in its genesis.
Single Family Residence
10,000 sq ft
Building on Shifting Sands Exhibition, NY
Cover, Metropolis Magazine
Buro Happold Engineers
The fragmented structure at the top of the building serves as an armature to support the skylight. The structural filigree filters ever-changing mosaics of light that illuminate the interior surfaces of the main building. These light patterns change throughout the day and from season to season. The building skin exhibits various degrees of transparency and porosity—the result of investigating notions of privacy and exposure. Apertures in the building envelope facilitate natural ventilation. A layering of exterior surfaces incorporates an environmentally mindful building approach providing both heat and sun protection. The protected inner courtyard is framed by several building components. Various public and private entities intertwine creating distinct circulation paths. While the structural network that becomes the surface of the building is based on a geometry inspired by nature, and natural forms are a significant factor in the project’s inception, they are translated in the digital design process. Through material selection, they blend into the innovative structural system for this contemporary residence.