A tower on the Lebanese coast has been designed to allow the sea breezes of the Mediterranean to act as a natural and sustainable method of cooling.
The Courtowers are a cluster of four family properties in the Amsheet region which were designed by Beirut architects Hashim Sarkis Studios.
Each of the buildings features a solid base containing the living areas, which is set into the sloping site and provides a plinth for a tower housing the bedrooms.
“The site slopes west towards the Mediterranean,” said the architects, “its angle allowing for embedding the houses in the landscape in such a way that the front is open to the view and breeze whereas the other sides of the house are protected by earth.”
Double-layered retaining walls lining the edges of the properties add an extra level of insulation against the humid soil, and are used to draw cool air into the interiors.
By positioning the essential services around the perimeter of the buildings, the central area on the ground floor is able to accommodate an open-plan living room that looks out onto a terrace.
At the rear of the living space, a courtyard is carved into the plan to create an additional outdoor space that facilitates cross ventilation, and produces a comfortable microclimate in both summer and winter.
The towers containing the bedrooms emerge from the southeast corners of the buildings, where they provide shade to the courtyards below.
Inside the tower, bathrooms and stairs are positioned on the eastern and southern edges to provide a protective thermal mass that prevents the summer sun from overheating the bedrooms.
By pulling aside the glazing and opening the folding wooden shutters, the entire edges of the rooms can be opened up to the sea views and breezes.