Ontic Works Inc.
Tehran, Iran

In stark contrast to traditional architecture that often draws heavily from spiritual inspirations, this unique villa is purposefully crafted to evoke bodily experiences, eschewing intellectual narratives in its design philosophy. The essence of this architectural endeavor is not to impart spiritual enlightenment or intellectual discourse; rather, it is a canvas for the inhabitants to engage with the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—through their own imagination and sensory experiences.

Credit: Raad Villa | Ontic Works Inc. (archilovers.com)

The villa is situated in an arid region with a gentle slope, a geographical setting that unfortunately allows the eastern and western neighbors to overlook the yard. This positioning renders the peripheral walls ineffective in providing the desired privacy. To address this issue, the living spaces are ingeniously segmented into four plus one blocks, strategically arranged around the yard. This layout not only secures privacy but also creates a distinct hierarchy between the main and transitional spaces. The transitional spaces, nestled between the four main blocks, are intentionally kept narrow to allow for the growth of vegetation, further enhancing the intimacy and connection with nature.

The ground floor houses all the public spaces, featuring transparent internal façades that face each other. This architectural choice fosters a unique visual experience where inhabitants can observe life in other parts of the villa, akin to watching scenes from a silent film. The private rooms are located on the upper floors of the solid blocks, which are clad in heavy materials. Intriguingly, slices of stone have been removed to reveal the layers beneath, lending an air of mystery akin to fictional characters subtly unveiling parts of their story.

Credit: Raad Villa | Ontic Works Inc. (archilovers.com)

A key aspect of the villa’s design is the deliberate incorporation of the four elements into the daily experiences of its inhabitants. Water is represented by a lap pool and a concrete tub in the bedroom, ensuring its constant presence. The air element is seamlessly integrated through the design of the transitional spaces and the open structure of the fifth block, allowing for the free flow of wind and preventing air entrapment in the central courtyard. Fire is manifested in the form of firewood, ignited in the eastern north wing and outdoors in the fifth block. Earth, the final element, nurtures the plants surrounding the main spaces, symbolizing the nourishment and grounding influence of nature.

Local stone, chosen for its color and contextual relevance, forms the primary building material. The stone’s sharp, slanted lines harmonize with the backdrop of nearby mountains. While the tangible arches and niches in the architecture are the only sentimental extensions present, their significance is deeply personal to the client. This villa is an architectural juxtaposition of the four elements and human experience, designed to be felt and lived through the body of its inhabitants. Any further interpretation or abstract creation is left to the subjective imagination of its users.

Credit: Raad Villa | Ontic Works Inc. (archilovers.com)
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