VILLA E

VILLA E

Architect
studio kO
Location
Ourika, Morocco | View Map
Category
Private Houses
Dan Glasser

VILLA E

studio kO as Architects

A slender slit, too narrow for an adult to squeeze through, cleaves the space from floor to ceiling. At the intersection of two blind walls, it admits a blade

of sunlight that pans across the room over the course of the day, as in a sundial where light and dark would have switched places. This may be a modern take on the medieval arrow-slit, yet because of the window pane no archer could shoot through it: the only thing it's meant to repel are cold fronts, much like the imposing northern wall of the villa—a reddish stone fortress for an era with no assailants to beat back. Yet behind the heavy metal door, the soft, airy interior contrasts with the roughness of the facade, much as the house's sharp, angular edges stand out against the curves of the surrounding vales.


This gash of light serves as a kind of hinge connecting the home's two main wings—two overlapping parallelepipeds locked in a tight embrace of the hillside. Faced with such a majestic scenery, the builder is compelled by humility to adapt to the site's requirements instead of altering it, and the villa is as much a pedestal for the landscape as it is the other way around. Thus, the living room resembles a movie theater in which the screen has been replaced by a window of cinematic proportions, offering a minutely framed view ofJebel Toublcal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains.


Just as this ancient range was sculpted over the eons by erosion and the slow drift of continental plates, the villa bears the mark of time—the time required to gather each stone from around the site, to transport it by donkey, to cut it, and set it in place. A true work of patience, the house proudly displays the passage of the hands that built it, as an homage to the Moroccan ethos of craftsmanship, which venerable dynasties of local artisans have managed to preserve in spite of the world's relentless acceleration. Somewhere between the patina of Berber artifacts, the clean and sober lines of the spaces, and the vertiginous immersion in the landscape, time suspends its course, and the sublime finds refuge in the groove of the everyday.

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