As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Eminent Architect Suhail A. Abbasi, his own residence & studio in Islamabad needs to be given due importance. It is a project that describes his design language in totality, his command over materials, his understanding of building construction & details, the connections he naturally creates of inside out spaces, the linkages both in plan & section and most importantly the experiential quality that is evident in all his work.
His own residence built twenty years ago seems timeless, the six levels are interwoven with multiple transition spaces, small and large nooks and corners to sit in and experience the greens and water features that move all around you.
The project has been featured in many publications, television shows, been part of numerous case studies in architecture schools around Pakistan and visited by thousands of people including architects, artists, interior designers and students from various parts of the world.
The house has a covered area of 5200 Sq. ft ( Roughly 485 Sq. Meters) and the plot area is 666 Sq.yds. The split levels are a visible part of the project where he has broken down every level into two, overall three levels split into six with walk out and viewing courtyards, terraces and balconies.
He practices with his son, architect Fawad Suhail Abbasi with their studios in Islamabad & Karachi under their brand Suhail & Fawad Architects. The duo have won multiple awards as a team with other recognition’s while both of them have served as office bearers in organizations like PCATP, IAP, PIID, UIA, & ARCASIA both locally and internationally to name a few.
ARCHITECT’S DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
The design for the house strives for tranquility and calmness. The design is inspired by the cultural and climatic nuances of its context, integrating landscape, air wells & water features blurring the distinction between interior and exterior.
The idea is juxtaposed over the layering of spaces on plan. One’s movement is choreographed to ascend, descend, move sideways and through tall sectional spaces, culminating in the open-air roof terraces.
Chan Soo Khian in “The Urban Asian House”.
The house grew out of a feeling that there is enough time in the home that one can sit and talk where one feels like it, in a bed room window, on the stairs, under a tree in the garden, not necessarily in a so-called sitting area. That one can sleep downstairs on the window sill or in a bed.
That one has something beautiful to look at when raising one’s eyes from the table, or that one sees something exiting from the living room – water that moves, or a seat under a tree – both contain a promise, and a temptation in one’ thought to get up and go towards them….
My own house was made so that one did not see a completed space – there was always a promise around the corner, the statue in a niche, the drama of going from high open space into a dark air-conditioned low cave, and the sound of water from a small pool that you could roll sideways into from bed. One could sleep upstairs or downstairs or out in the garden. The house is also a home for one’s imagination – the senses become more awake by being used, and they get sharper…
Buildings are also homes for our soul. Ulrik Plesner in “Building for People”, Sark fre Arkitecture (Denmark) No.3, 1971 – quoted by C. ANJALENDRAN in “The Urban Asian House”.