Location: DAMASCUS
Date: 2011
Size: 27,000 SQM
Credits: ACME Team (Nicholas Channon, Elke Frotscher, Friedrich Ludewig, Stephen Harker, Marc Dufour Feronce, Sofia Hagen)
The brief for the Syrian Residencies developed from a desire to achieve a high quality residential development facing onto a sensitive central public square. An initial set of feasibility studies determined that the density for the scheme would best be apportioned between a series of lower blocks which capped the maximum height at 8 storeys with a setback for the top two floors in order to maximise daylight into the central private courtyard. The remainder of apartments would be located in a tower to the south-east of the site, boasting 360 degree panoramic views. The scheme re-interpreted the concept of the traditional courtyard house only at a larger and more prominent scale. The exterior was designed to have a permeable lower level colonnade containing retail and restaurants with the upper floors reflecting the harder, more solid and arched vernacular of a traditional Syrian city block. The more private inner courtyard created a lush landscape into which the apartments faced, with a water feature at its heart. Additional planting on both the roofs and the balconies softens the scheme to create a modern Damascene oasis within the city.