Modern House Design
Location: Muscat, Oman
Scope of services: Architectural, exterior, landscape, MEP and HVAC design
Date: September 2019
Modern exterior design can be tricky, because the goal is to achieve a sleek appearance without making the home look cold and uninviting. In this modern house design in Muscat, Oman, earthy tones of beige, brown, and gray are infused with warm yellow light. The soft glow enhances material textures at night and adds a softness to the façade while maintaining the strict geometry that is typical of modern designs.
A long water feature in the front yard emphasizes the linear lines of the house while adding a calm, reflective element to the structured landscape. It also draws the eye to the main front entrance of the house.
The residence is designed as two separate villas, both very similar in design. The structures are designed independently but joined on two levels: the small living area on the ground floor and a suite room with an office on the first floor.
The window and door elements are designed as tall, thin openings, creating a pleasing balance between the horizontality achieved by placing the two villas close to each other and the verticality of the openings.
The entrance to the house is prominent, with its double-story height framed in a neat, gray concrete box. The tall wooden front door grounds the long expanse of glass above. This is surrounded with a geometric open screen that offers a glimpse into the interior during the day and emits a warm, welcoming glow at night.
The long openings, slit-like in appearance, protect the inhabitant’s privacy while still allowing strategic glimpses into the interior space.
The modern element also comes from the massing of basic cubic forms in the design of the villas. Since massing has a such a strong visual and architectural impact, it is an important tool used in modern exterior design.
In this modern house design, cubic forms are artistically carved and manipulated to create living spaces and give the exterior its intriguing appearance. Cubic forms are either projected beyond the façade or recessed to give the façade depth. On the exterior, individual masses are defined by thick concrete bands or enclosed in stone surrounds to shape the exterior of the house. Recessed forms are protected from exterior weather elements by the projecting surrounds, creating shadows, which are cooling and add visual interest to the elevation.
The rear of the house opens onto a clean, orthogonal landscape defined by still, mirror-like water features and palm trees. Large plate-glass windows open the house up to this exterior view. Several seating nooks provide opportunities to lounge around the minimalist pool or enjoy a meal under the covered pergola.
The lines of the house are softened by the organic shapes of planted palms, aloes, and grasses. These plants punctuate the open spaces, softening the rigid corners of the house. Tall palm trees emphasize the vertical aspects of the façade’s design.
These vertical elements are balanced by low, horizontal spaces, like the parking and the covered pool-side pergola, which pick up on the horizontal elements of the house exterior.
Modern does not have to mean cold, as this modern house design exemplifies with its inviting warmth. The play in massing between horizontal and vertical elements connects with the landscape through the use of trees and structures that mimic the house forms.
Geometry plays an important part in creating a strong visual impact; these geometric forms are repeated in the landscape through the orthogonal shape of planting areas, pools, and pergola structures. Large glass windows counterbalance the solid stone facades, making the house seem lighter. The use of screens protects openings from the weather and prying eyes while maintaining transparency for those looking out.
Balance in proportions is the key to the successful design of this modern house design.