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© Atelier Messaoudi Architectes


Project Name: The Open Patio House Location: Tipaza, Algeria Architects: Atelier Messaoudi Architectes Project completion date: 2013 Gross Built Area : 180m² Photographer: Atelier Messaoudi Architectes Type of Project: Residential


Located on a dead-end street close to the town center in a residential area, this house stands on a 200m² plot of land bordered by two neighboring blind walls on the east and south. On the north and west sides, the plot is oriented towards the main facades of neighboring houses featuring balconies. In this context, the challenge was to create a spacious and functional living place protected from direct sights. The introversion of the house was essential to preserve intimacy without sacrificing the desired clean design while generating open and fluid spaces.

Since the west and north walls overlook the street and neighboring buildings respectively, these walls feature a limited number of narrow openings. They form a barrier that protects the house from exterior indiscreet viewers. In contrast, interior facades enjoy much larger openings and a higher level of transparency thanks to wide bay windows located on the ground and second floor, opening a way for a variety of views and more sunlight.

Space distribution follows this introversion in a way that allows main living spaces to enjoy the view on garden patios, while secondary servant spaces (bathrooms, toilets, back kitchen, dressings…) are slightly open on the dead-end via narrow or high windows.

The ground floor includes a garden, a large office with independent access, ideal for a liberal profession, a garage for up to two cars and an independent studio for visiting guests connected to the garden.

The first floor is dedicated to accommodate privileged spaces such as the kitchen, the living and the dining room, which form the heart of the project. These open spaces enjoy a direct bond with the garden patio while zenithal lightening captures the natural sunlight and thus provides a warm atmosphere.

The second floor consists of bedrooms and a central polyvalent space attached to the patio. The master bedroom includes a dressing and a bathroom. It opens on the last garden terrace. The three levels communicate visually through the open staircase, bordered by integrated wooden bookshelves. A red wall helps unify the whole by creating visual continuity.

The patio, in Arabic “wast ed-dar” is traditionally closed on all sides. In this project, opening one side allows for air and sunlight to penetrate into living spaces and provide a controlled frame for views towards the exterior. Wooden shutters play the role of a modern “moucharabieh” and allows the family to enjoy the views without being exposed.

This project adopts ecological principles, using local materials such as bricks, plaster, wood and tile flooring to minimize the impact of the construction on the environment. We paid a particular attention to reducing power consumption and providing optimal comfort for the inhabitants, particularly during hot and humid summer seasons, which characterize the local climate.To do so, we worked on protecting windows and large openings with wooden shadings and using only small ventilation windows on the west façade, while providing a double orientation for living spaces, implementing insulation on floors and walls and using double-glazing to enhance the building’s thermal performance.