The F.LOT house can be described as a minimal composition of 2 seemingly floating masses intersecting at right angles. A 5m cantilever adds drama and gives the composition its unique character.

ARCHITECTS: Studio Toggle
LOCATION: Al Bida’a, Kuwait
YEAR OF COMPLETION: 2016
DESIGN TEAM: Hend Almatrouk, Gijo Paul George
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Gijo Paul George.
STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT: Al Turath Consultants
MAIN CONTRACTOR: Al Nisf Co.

F.LOT By Studio Toggle - Sheet3
©Gijo Paul George.

The challenge was to cater for the clients need for a clean open design at while tackling the issues of privacy and shade from the desert heat. Inspired by Donald Judd’s compositions and Louis Barragan’s work, we strived to create a composition that would shield itself from the desert sun by the virtue of its aesthetics. The form evolved from our attempts to create dramatic self-shading volumes using perpendicular intersections and cantilevers. Clean lines and use of white emphasize the purity of form

F.LOT By Studio Toggle - Sheet6
©Gijo Paul George.

The house features a 15m long pool which appears to float above the parking. The pool bisects the longitudinal volume which houses the main social spaces and the living quarters. The open-plan ground floor is organized on either side of the pool, which is quite clearly the focal point of the house. These spaces flow into each other connected by a bridge which is enclosed by panoramic sliding windows. The barrier free design of the ground floor is emphasized by the open kitchen and dining, with sliding-folding doors, giving unrestricted access to the landscape/deck and the pool.

F.LOT By Studio Toggle - Sheet7
©Gijo Paul George.

The basement houses the ‘Dewaniya’ (traditional Kuwaiti gathering space for men), parking for 3 cars under the floating pool, and the staff quarters. The Dewaniya opens into a large courtyard at the basement level, covered in white pebbles, which breaks up the harsh Kuwaiti sun and lights up the basement spaces in a glow of diffused natural light. The first floor houses the private living quarters and is lit by panoramic windows on both sides. Aluminum louvers and deep recessed balconies offer effective sun-protection and mitigate the heat gain due to the large window openings.

F.LOT By Studio Toggle - Sheet5
©Gijo Paul George.

An austere palette of white plaster, exposed concrete and white epoxy flooring gives the social spaces a sense of ethereal openness reminiscent of an art gallery. The first floor on the other hand features solid teak wood and rough-cut travertine cladding giving the living spaces a warmer texture.


PROFILE

Studio Toggle was established in 2012 by Architects Hend Almatrouk and Gijo Paul George upon graduating from the University of Applied Arts (Die Angewandte), Vienna. The practise focuses on logical design and problem-solving techniques with a specific emphasis on Architecture and Urban Design. Studio Toggle believes in the balance between the opposites, that form follows function, that simplicity is complex, and that chaos can be beautiful. Studio Toggle’s expertise ranges from public-sector, commercial, residential and hospitality architecture to interior design. Operating from its three Studios in Kuwait City, Porto and Bangalore, Studio Toggle has successfully designed, supervised and handed over projects varying in scales and typologies.

Although a relatively young firm, Studio Toggle has emerged as one of the region’s most decorated boutique architecture firms. Studio Toggle has proven its capability and readiness to tackle the challenges of spatial hierarchies, social norms and the harsh desert weather conditions unique to the Arabian Gulf. Its multicultural team comprises highly accomplished architects and engineers from Kuwait, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, the Philippines and India. This rich diversity adds depth and empowers Studio Toggle to deliver its site-specific, vernacular inspired version of desert modernism without the danger of being one-directional. Working on projects in urban and remote areas of Kuwait, Portugal, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia, Studio Toggle have adapted to the realities of tight budgets, scarcity of skilled labour, multi-lingual workforce, adverse weather conditions etc. and has learned to deliver high-quality projects without cost over-runs.

Studio Toggle’s body of work has been acclaimed in the region, as evidenced by the various awards won by the practice consistently. Studio Toggle’s projects are routinely published in prestigious architectural magazines, including the Architectural Digest, ArchDaily, Dezeen, and DesignBoom, to name a few. The practice continues to push the boundaries of design sensibilities in the MENA region and beyond.

Author

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