The villa takes its name from the orchids which are abundant in this area, some fine specimens of which are exhibited in a glasshouse, with a controlled microclimate, located at the entrance of the building.
Building this house near a river, and in the extreme climatic conditions of equatorial central Africa, presented us with particular problems. To deal with these, firstly, crawl space vents were used in the construction to counter any possible rising damp. Secondly, to decrease the heat inside the building, and create a recreational area, a roof garden was constructed. The layer of earth absorbs and diffuses the heat from the sun and two steel and glass structures, one of which provides a skylight and the other a staircase leading to the roof garden, allow warm air to escape from the upper floors. The intense light and heat penetrating the building are countered using an Arabic cooling technique known as moucharaby on the façade. Originally lattices made of wood or other materials, this technique was adapted to lightweight concrete panels which filter both light and heat to the interior. The particular design was based on the patterns used in the raffia work traditional to the region.
The villa consists of three levels: the lower level, for receptions and cocktails, is fully glazed and open to the gardens; two staircases (the central one in glass) provide access to the upper floor. The first floor houses the bedrooms, a private living room, the dining room and the kitchen. The moucharaby guarantees privacy in the bedrooms, whilst ensuring filtered natural light. The turfed roof garden has a central seating area of bamboo parquet, for which shade is provided by an awning resembling the sail of a ship.