American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2007 Professional Awards
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A landscape that calls out to be contemplated. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Serenity in simplicity. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Water, wind, and fire animating the landscape. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Textural variations subtly enriching a sober composition. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Nocturnal ambiance. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Solid stone sitting area and fireplace. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Water, sky, and horizons beyond. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

General view of lower terrace. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

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Elie Saab Residence, Faqra, Lebanon
Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture, Broumana, Lebanon
client: Elie Saab

"Breathtaking in its elegance and serenity. We love the way it emphasizes the horizon. Nice volume, the proportion is exquisite and the scale is to the site. Simply elemental in control and restraint. Even the photography is amazing."

— 2007 Professional Awards Jury Comments

Project Statement

A mountain escape demonstrating the therapeutic power of serene landscapes. A contemporary space that caters to moments of private contemplation as well as memorable gatherings. A landscape expression that seamlessly extends the architecture and interior into the outdoors. While transmitting a sensation of harmony between the natural and manmade, the Elie Saab residence shows how simplicity in design and well-crafted execution leave behind a sense of presence.

Project Narravtive

A residential chalet with two facets. An escape from the hectic lifestyle of a renowned fashion designer and a venue for hosting major gatherings. Withstanding severe climatic conditions at an altitude of 2000 meters, with its limited 1850 m2 site, the landscape architectural program is comprised of a sequence of four spaces. The entrance approach, flowing to the upper terrace, extending to the side garden, and finally leading to the lower and main terrace.

The entrance approach consists of a main door preceded by a six-meter high wooden enclosure, raised to keep the snowfall away and to compensate for the limited planting depth. Large oak trees were planted to frame the house and give privacy from the street. Solid stone steps with recessed lighting bridge the levels together.

The upper terrace represents a tight continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces. A subtle paving pattern pulls the interior stone to the outside, diluting it with grass grooves as it gets further from the house, and closer to nature. All balustrades are lowered and transformed into wide planters to provide an uninterrupted view of the mountains and provide for overflow seating during major events.

The side garden, a simple maple forest, offers a sense of calm and privacy, acting as a solid screen between the house and main road, and allowing for overflow events from the upper terrace.

The lower terrace depicts the heart of this project. It represents strong linearity and control through a series of two simple rectangles, one being raised as a mirror of water, the swimming pool in disguise, and the other a flat terrace with two integrated recessed sitting areas with fireplaces. Ones seated eye level is thus aligned with the water surface, in total peaceful collision with the lavish mountain ranges that frame this panoramic view. All lighting and drainage are totally concealed and incorporated as part of the design. To add a new dimension to the experience, with a touch of a hidden button, fire places light up from the central tables to warm the cool evenings of the Faqra climate and set the nocturnal ambiance.

Project Resources

Chakib Richani Architects

General Contractors:
Espace Faqra sal

Civil Engineer:
Mattar Bureau D'etudes

Mechanical Engineer:
Mr. Nadim Feghali


Lighting Consultants:
Cesar Debbas + Fils

Water Specialists:
Watertech Contracting sal

Planting Supplier + Contracting:
Pepiniere Peter Holman


Upper terrace (grass groves representing transition between paved areas and green spaces). (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Integration between indoor and outdoor, between the living space of the house and the upper terrace. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Forest of Acer Saccharinum trees in side garden. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Entrance approach. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Entrance foyer detail showing the floating steps, shade structure, and six-meter high wooden enclosure. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Sunset. (Photo: Geraldine Bruneel)

Master Plan

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