Project: Abu Samra House
Architects: Symbiosis Designs LTD
Location: Amman, Jordan
Area: 13993 sq ft
Photographs by: Arnaldo Genitrini, Osman Akuz, Ghassan Aqel
Abu Samra House by Symbiosis Designs LTD
The Abu Samra House by Symbiosis Designs LTD is an ambitious project that was completed in Jordan in 2008. The model for this project was pure white, but in its built form, it achieved material contrast that accents every formal move within the design. The subtle, yet deliberate use of color brings the forms to life, giving them a meaning.
From the architects: “The first impression with which the Abu Samra house receives the viewer relates to its use of materials and color. By rejecting the conventional use of stone in Amman, and by extending both its textures and the whitish tones associated with most examples of this material in Amman.”
From the architects: “Instead, the use of earth-toned plastered building for which the subdued hues fit in perfectly well within the dry local landscape and the strong bright Jordanian sun. Plaster finishes are common in Jordan, but generally are used as a cheap alternative to stone. And the project challenges such low-budget connotations, and uses plastering as a high-quality building finish that requires a considerable level of craftsmanship.”
From the architects: “The architectural forms of the building, which primarily consist of two sets of cubic masses linked by a corridor (the gallery), may have ended up providing for a rather busy composition, especially towards the western edges of the building. Nonetheless, the use of forms expresses on the conceptual level an element of reductionism, as with the expansive plastered surfaces and simple rectangular cutout windows. The southern one of these two compositions of masses extends the axis of the corridor, while the northern one is rotated from it at an angle, partly to break the longitudinal extension of the house, and partly to maximize the views of the surrounding landscapes available to this northern mass.”
From the architects: “Compositionally, the house emphasizes expansive earth-toned, textured surfaces with wide panes of glass cut into them. On one level, the two-dimensional components of this arrangement show a faint connection to Gerrit Rietveld’s 1924 Rietveld-Schroder House in Utrecht. The design however also expresses a duality combining two- and three-dimensional compositions, with planar arrangements competing with three-dimensional masses. The weight of the masses especially is apparent when the mass of one of the house corners are freed with a recessed window, thus revealing the considerable thickness of the exterior walls of the house.”
The design of the Abu Samra House brought freshness to the architectural scene in Jordan with its massing, treatment of openings and use of color.