Sahel Al-Hiyari is a Jordanian architect and painter. He was trained in architecture and fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, and received a master's degree in urban design from Harvard University; he later undertook doctoral studies in architecture at the University of Venice. He is the principal in the architectural firm Sahel Al-Hiyari and Partners; previously, he undertook design work with Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) in Cairo, and Machado Silvetti Associates in Boston. During 2003, Mr. Al-Hiyari was the first architect honoured by the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, and thereafter worked closely with the architect Alvaro Siza in Portugal. Mr. Al-Hiyari's paintings have been exhibited in Jordan, Lebanon and Italy.
Named after the rectilinear yet sinuous form of its exterior, the S House attempts to question the typology of the large detached villas that surround it without deviating from local norms of construction. In response to its crowded setting with no views, the house looks inward onto an internal landscape, adopting the privacy typical of a traditional Arab house. A bridge-like structural element supports the first floor, allowing an open-plan living area at ground level with a large reflecting pool and a double-height space that draws in filtered light. The richness of the interior contrasts with the simplicity of the stone-clad exterior.