Casa Brutale is a geometrical translation of the landscape. It is an unclad statement on the simplicity and harmony of contemporary architecture. It is a chameleonic living space, created to serve its owner and respect the environment. It is the inverted reference to Casa Malaparte, encased and protected by the tender earth that has hosted the human civilization for millennia. It is a complete study of aesthetics, structure, function and engineering, which thoroughly detailed, awaits solely its realisation. Casa Brutale is OPA’s challenging vision of innovative architecture, where innovation refers to long forgotten terms such as ambience and materiality. Its subtle form allows for the magnificent view and the game of light and shadow to take center stage. The residence is constructed with simple materials: wood, glass and concrete, the convergence of the surrounding earth and water. The landscape is integral to the underlying concept, since elements penetrate and prevail over the construction. The roof of Casa Brutale, a glazed bottom swimming pool, is a continuation of the poetic Aegean Sea and in perfect communication with the vast blue of the Greek sky. In essential simplicity, Casa Brutale is defined by three thick concrete slabs with all the installations preformed. The crystalline pool, made by reinforced glass, is set between the walls to smoothen the hard materials and let the abundant natural light through, illuminating the residence. The enormous glass façade frames and extracts the beauty of the Aegean. And small details of black-coated steel and brown/red aged wood complete the composition. In literal groundbreaking integration, Casa Brutale penetrates the landscape. The underground building benefits from a perfect homeostatic mechanism with thermal insulation from the surrounding ground, and the cooling properties of the swimming pool. The optical impact of the building on the landscape is minimal, with only one façade on the cliff side and no volume extruding from the ground level. Light penetrates the transparent or semi-transparent surfaces of Casa Brutale, bringing it to life. The dynamic light patterns caress the bare concrete with refractions and shadows. Bare concrete, or beton brut, is the finishing technique that gave the name to both brutalism and Casa Brutale. Raw, unpretentious, monolithic, marked by the wooden planks used to mold the casting. After descending 50 stairs to the Aegean, under the shadows of epic concrete beams, you reach the entrance (also accessible by elevator). The tall, rotating door of aged wood (with the axis at ¾ lengths) opens to a breathtaking sea view, through the glass façade. The remaining space is bare, pure and simple; minimalism at its best. A concrete cast dining table is combined with concrete benches, clad with warm wood. Smooth curves sculpture the fireplace on the wall next to the bench. Behind the dining table, the guest room is formed under an old-fashioned Zoellner slab with a glass corner. Next to the guest room, there is a small passage to the utility rooms (storage room, bathroom and WC). An inner staircase consists of thin, steel steps that allow the optical continuity from the kitchen to the glass façade. The staircase leads you to the mezzanine floor, where the master bedroom is exposed to the same overpowering vision of the Aegean. The bed is cast of concrete with wood finishing, while the walls are covered with mirror to enhance the play between light and shadows. Casa Brutale redefines the harmonious coexistence of human and nature in a poetic homage to pure Brutalism.
*UPDATE 2016*: Casa Brutale is the debut, cutting-edge project of OPA, officially released in July 2015, that became instantly viral after its publication and was shared by numerous media and design platforms worldwide. Designed for the people that want to live, literally and figuratively, on the edge, Casa Brutale was deemed to be a house suitable for James Bond and received feedback both applauding the design and questioning the implementation of its construction. The global consulting team ARUP was selected to address this implementation. The challenging and exciting task is conducted by ARUP's team in Amsterdam in collaboration with the architectural office OPA. Casa Brutale will be built on Faqra mountain outside Beirut, at an altitude of 1600m, and the OPA's vision will continue through Laertis Antonios Ando Vassiliou new practise, LAAV Architects with the construction of the project. Future owner will be Alex Demirdjian, CEO of Demco Properties. More specifically, the site is located 150m below the peak of the mountain, 200 meters above RedRock Village and Spa, also owned and developed by Demco Properties. The cliff residence has grown since the first concept and it is now 270 sqm (it used to be 180sqm) with an estimated project budget of 2.5 million USD. It can now accommodate up to six people, has an underground parking of up to three cars and a northwest orientation. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020, at a prominent location on top of Faqrah mountain.
Head / Project Architects: Laertis-Antonios Ando Vassiliou Associate Architects: Michalis Takopoulos, Anna-Rosa Moschouti Renderings: Terpsichori Latsi (LOOM Design) Scriptwriter/Publication manager: Xanthippi Alexi Vassiliou Programme Vacation residence of 180m² (concept) - 270m² BREEAM Pending report Design 2015 Realisation 2016-2018 Interior architect LAAV Architects Client DEMCO Properties Project management LAAV Architects & Arup Amsterdam Structural, electrical and mechanical engineer; fire safety, acoustics and building physics consultant Arup Amsterdam Design management and cost consultant Bloc7 Landscape architect Partnership pending Main contractor Bloc7 - Michel Younes