by Zohra KhanSep 15, 2022
London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners recently revealed designs for Dolunay Villa, a private residence along the coast of Aegean Sea in Turkey’s southern province of Mugla. The villa offers spectacular sea views as it is carefully sited amid the natural rugged setting.
On approaching it from a curving road, the house appears to be a single-story structure, deceiving its massive presence. The natural contours of the site have been used to create a low-rise building that is embedded within the Mediterranean garden that provides a multisensory experience with fragrant plants. “We were fascinated by the local landscape and wanted it to flow through the interior spaces and effectively disguise the building,” said David Summerfield, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners.
The main entrance takes one directly to the heart of the villa with the private family quarters to the eastern side, orientated to respond to the contours of the site, and the public living and dining areas to the west, with exceptional views of the setting sun over the Aegean.
The architects have choreographed the journey through the villa as from ‘opaque to open’, providing different levels of privacy throughout. The glass doors that slide into the wall pocket and completely disappear from the view blur the boundaries between inside and outside living, providing an unobstructed flow of spaces.
“There’s a real split between the public forum and the private. A sense of discovery and a richness of experience comes through in the way the spaces change as you walk through the site,” mentioned Niall Dempsey, Partner, Foster + Partners.
One of the intriguing features of the house is its handcrafted undulating structural Swiss timber roof, designed in conjunction with Swiss firm Blumer Lehmann. The roof is not only an innovative design element that gives the façade and its appearance an edge, but also contains substantially less carbon than a typical concrete roof, making it sustainable and environment-friendly. The solid structural oak beams rest on steel columns, supporting a large 7.5m cantilever, providing generous outdoor shaded spaces and cool shaded courtyards.
The interiors are characterised by a central feature staircase made from solid Portuguese limestone, glass tube balustrades and supported through post-tensioned cables punctured through the stone with no other visible supports. “Even though it gets incredibly hot in the summer, we wanted the building to be able to breathe naturally. The landscaped open courtyards within the house allow the prevailing sea breeze to gently move through the villa. These are simple ideas that have come together in an elegant way,” added Summerfield.
The elements used in the interiors as well as the exteriors reflect high levels of craftsmanship in the design - from hand-carved solid timber doors to bespoke ceramic tiles and basin in the bathrooms. The villa also features a smaller sunset pavilion closer to the coast, with natural stone walls, olive groves, wooden tables and a bamboo soffit. A natural interior material palette inspired from the immediate surroundings consisting stone, wood and bronze with warm tones of browns and greys has been employed throughout the house for the décor and the overall design.
Dolunay Villa is Foster + Partners’ first private family house since the completion of Leedon Park House in Singapore in 2006.
Name: Dolunay Villa
Location: Mugle, Turkey
Client: Kaplankaya and Dolunay Villa
Architect: Foster + Partners
Design Team: David Summerfield, Kirsten Scott, Niall Dempsey, Ignacio Diaz, Sunil Rajaratnam, Ana Reis, Daniel Rodrigues, Guy Stewart, Rob Seymour, Luca Caroti
Start date: 2015
Site area: 17,568 sqm
Built-up area: 1668 sqm
Construction period: 2016-2019
Collaborating architect: Design Group Istanbul, Artiko architects
Structural engineers: Design Group Instanbul, Matte Construction & Design
Mechanical engineer: Okutan Muhendislik, Ankara
Landscape consultant: Exterior Architecture, Jan Muse Landscape Designers
Lighting engineers: Design Group Istanbul
Main contractor: Matte Construction & Development