Open Courtyards in The House in Mishref

Studio Toggle

Essentially an introverted composition of two separate living units grouped around an internal courtyard, the house is an interpretation of the traditional courtyard house. 

Presenting a clean and serene façade to the street, the resulting massing can be best described as a white monolithic volume poised elegantly on top of a stone cladded podium. 

a rhythmic arrangement of louvered windows across the façade softens the volume by lending it a sense of lightness. 

The harsh desert sun and dust storms are a regular phenomenon that dictates the planning and construction strategies in the area. The house is organized around an internal courtyard cutting across all the floors. The U-shaped volume faces this courtyard in an Omani stone clad skin. 

The courtyard and the void results in an inward-looking typology that can benefit from maximum diffused daylight without compromising on privacy. 

The house, thus, opens up towards the interior featuring a private citrus tree-lined courtyard with a sculptural fountain reminiscent of the gardens from the Moorish Alcazars. 

The 4-story courtyard and void presented a question of human scale as well as connectivity between the living units facing each other.  A circulation loop comprised of a dramatic floating staircase connecting with balconies on multiple levels addressed these issues by punctuating the void.

 The staircases and the balconies also double up as viewing platforms and social spaces by offering advantageous vantage points and ease of access.

The interiors of the house feature a simple palette of ethereal white and natural woods. The straight and minimal lines of the massing are offset with the sleek curves of spiral staircases. 

The furniture is carefully chosen and boldly contrasted against the serene ambiance. The calming sound of the water and the diffused light filtered through the louvered windows make this house an oasis of tranquillity in this busy Kuwaiti suburb.

About the Designer: Studio Toggle

Studio Toggle was established in 2012 by Architects Hend Almatrouk and Gijo Paul George. The practice focuses on logical design and problem-solving techniques with a specific emphasis on Architecture and Urban Design. The office believes in a balance between the opposites, that form follows function, the simplicity is complex, and that even chaos can be organized. Based in Kuwait City, Studio Toggle has designed, supervised and handed over more than 8 projects including private villas, apartment buildings, pavilions, and retail interiors, all in the short 5 years of being operational.

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