A garden majlis in Dubai is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional gathering space
Nestled within a villa’s premises in Dubai’s Nad Al Sheba area, the Garden Majlis by Pandre Special Architecture is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional gathering space prevalent in homes across the Arabian Gulf.
Consisting of a cantilevered roof and glass walls that open or come together, the Garden Majlis provides a peaceful, shaded living area that allows users to experience the tranquil “ebb and flow from the majlis to the landscaped garden”.
“The design intent was to create a place of hospitality, entertainment, relaxation and reflection,” said the architects. “[It is] an informal, modern annex that complements the ‘formal’ majlis located inside the more traditional family villa.
“The existing villa supports the Garden Majlis architecturally, with the external stone faced elevation providing a visual backdrop and spatial element to the ‘outdoor room’ sitting area.”
While a narrow 20mm gap separates the buildings, the stylistic divide is wider. The new majlis structure is a contemporary installation – the terraces float above the ground as if to remain disconnected and temporary, while the existing classical villa, with banded stone panelling and Islamic arches, remains strongly grounded. According to the architects, the two buildings co-exist in a state of mutual contribution.
The canopy roof is supported by four columns, and acts as a tent poled awning stretched over all components camped within. The functional components of the kitchen and washrooms are stand-alone rooms clad in stone and timber and are separated by views of the garden.
“The physical context of the site is intimate,” said the architects. “Only millimetres from the family villa, and metres from the adjacent property, the majlis nevertheless retains a feeling of openness and relaxation achieved by daylight and landscape permeating the envelope of the building. It’s a place of hospitality inviting a domestic landscape into its interior.”
Located as the crossed axis formed by the gardens and hadeerah fire pit, the majlis space is neither inside nor outside.
“It inhabits the ‘inside-outside’ threshold, like a rocking chair on a veranda,” said the architects. “The resultant architectural dialogue is intimate and informal – like casual conversations with friends around a campfire.”