Classic Villa Design
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Scope of Services: Architectural Design, Landscape Design, Interior Design, Structural Design, MEP and HVAC Design
Date: April 2020
Classical design remains popular even in modern times because of its timeless beauty. Despite the advent of many modern styles, the natural order, functionality, and symmetry of classical design mixed with newer features is often used to convey a sense of luxury through visual balance.
In this striking villa located in Al Malqa district (north of Riyadh), the classic villa design responds to its location, using passive cooling strategies to take full advantage of the site’s orientation. Surrounded by other properties on three sides, the house is oriented on an east–west axis, with the front entrance on the open east side and the rear yard to the west.
Tall trees on the north and south elevations provide shade from the fierce midday sun while still allowing in plenty of natural light. The west-facing backyard is ideally situated to receive the warmth of the setting sun without the scorching heat.
In true classical style, the magnificent front entrance is designed to make a bold statement. Standing tall from the ground floor to the first-floor terrace, the entrance is emphasized by a pair of tall, slender columns that support a narrow arch.
The arched, vaulted, coffered ceiling is grand and impressive, specifically designed to be luxurious but inviting. The entrance runs the entire length of the house along the east–west axis. At night, the ceiling spotlights highlight the detailed intricacies of the coffered ceiling design, giving it a warm glow.
The sheer proportions of the entrance, coupled with the ornate design, adds timeless beauty to this classical elevation design.
The south-side elevation follows the principles of classical design with the structured organization of its double-height windows. The rectangular large-paned windows are protected by slender architraves supported on tall, sleek columns. The profile of the architrave is mirrored in the design of the parapet, down to the detailed ornamentation.
In contrast, the arched windows that flank the tall, rectangular window, are divided by a central lintel that shortens their height. Two flat, fluted columns flank the arched windows, which are perfectly proportioned to complement the rectangular windows.
Fewer openings on the northern façade protect the interior rooms against the strong, predominantly northerly winds.
The rhythm and balance in all four elevations is maintained through the repetition of features, such as the double parapet with the decorative cornice between and the rhythmic marching of windows along the façade. Subtle ornamentation is used throughout the elevations to provide visual appeal without being overwhelming.
The light-colored façade is brought into relief by the use of a monochromatic plant palette with varying shades of green.
The Western elevation is designed with large-paned windows on the lower level, which open the interiors up to the views of the lush backyard.
On the upper level, windows are kept to a minimum to minimize glare and heat from the setting sun. The tall trees on either side of the house provide cooling shade and a measure of privacy from the next-door neighbors.
In contrast to the detailing on the house elevation, the surrounding landscaping is simple and functional. The plant palette is restricted to a few green plants of varying shades with minimal pops of color.
Likewise, the earthy tones of the furniture and upholstery complement the light coloring of the façade.
At the basement level, a delightful courtyard opens the home up to the outside, creating an intimate, inviting basement-level courtyard space.
A round table surrounded by classical fan-shaped curved chairs provides a cozy seating nook. The marble treads on the outdoor stairs are combined with light paving to create a simple, homogenous paving pattern that brings the interior materials through to the outside.
Green plants in a raised planter envelop the patio, adding warmth and the comfort of nature. Bathed in warm sunlight, the courtyard is cheerful and bright, the perfect place for the family to spend time together.
The structural design of this classic villa design uses a grid of reinforced concrete beams, columns, and solid slabs to provide structural rigidity against wind and seismic loads. The reinforced concrete core, which makes up the elevator shaft and stairwell, provides additional stiffness.
The reinforced structural grid system minimizes the need for large load-bearing walls and allows the flexibility to use large windows on the elevational façade.
The MEP design, which includes HVAC, drainage, water, and power supply, was carefully designed to offer the convenience of a tailored system catering to the needs of the client. Specific equipment was suggested for different types of applications, and a complete set of technical specifications and installation guidelines were provided to the client.
This classic villa design combines geometry and carefully repeated ornamental features to strike a harmonious balance between simple and elaborate. Subtle ornamentation celebrates classic beauty without over-the-top embellishments, aiming to portray a luxurious vibe without being overwhelming.