Blog : Courtyard

Winding Villa: A Mountain Retreat Where Curve Design Syncs with the Rhythm of the Wild

Winding Villa: A Mountain Retreat Where Curve Design Syncs with the Rhythm of the Wild

/ Nakhon Nayok, Thailand /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rungkit Charoenwat /

Here’s a gorgeous modern home nestled in the wooded hills of Nakhon Nayok Province, roughly an hour’s drive from the capital. It’s a good-sized home built on 12 Rai of valleylands (just shy of 5 acres). The surroundings are naturally beautiful no doubt, and the design team at Stu/D/O, a Bangkok-based architectural practice, is determined to leave everything in its pristine condition. It involves detailed environmental assessment to reduce human impacts on ecosystems and, at the same time, create a wholesome atmosphere for relaxation.

Winding Villa

The vast expanse of the forests is vital headwaters to many tributaries and rich in ecological corridors that are key to the survival of the region’s native fauna. And that takes priority over any other matter concerning the siting of the home.

Like so, the building is made less visible to avoid disrupting the ways of nature. It’s a house without fences by design that accepts things as they are. So wildlife can wander leisurely by, plus existing trees on the property remain where they have always been to minimize the impact on the environment.

Winding Villa

Mimicking the contours of the landscape, a semi-outdoor pathway connects the carport to the villa.

Winding Villa

Winding Villa
The center courtyard is hemmed in by the circular concrete wall with curved concrete roofing.

That explains why the elements of the landscape are integrated into the home plan. It’s a design that considers human needs in connection with other things in the environment. And the house’s appearance reflects this line of thought.

Like poetry in motion, graceful curves wind around a stand of trees, six of them in all, creating good design flow that’s in sync with the rhythm of the wild. Curved concrete barriers prevent an encounter with wandering wildlife and provide safe outdoor room for the home with a center courtyard.

Winding Villa

Ample semi-outdoor room for relaxation by the poolside.

Within the confines of the place, a beautiful two-story house plan is created. Freeform curves fill the ground floor where a sitting room and kitchen space flow together as one. There’s a workshop cum hobby room nearby. Together they take up one side of the floor.

At the center court, a swimming pool connects to the semi-outdoor sitting room along the outside of the home. There are housekeeper living quarters and service areas at the opposite end.

Winding Villa
Curved lines adorning the sitting room give off good vibes.

The freeform concrete structure on the ground floor differs strikingly from the rectangular-shaped second floor that sits on top of it. It’s the perfect stark contrast where geometric rigidity meets graceful fluidity.

There is the beauty of humble materials such as timber cladding that adorns the exterior walls on all sides. The second floor contains bedrooms with personality that varies from room to room.

Winding Villa

Winding Villa
The façade covered in timber cladding visually reduces the size allowing the villa to blend into the wooded hillside.

Taken as a whole, it’s a salubrious place made for relaxation, a country villa thoughtfully devised to incorporate environmental considerations into the design process. And it’s done with respect for nature.

Drawing of ground floor plan. / Courtesy of Stu/D/O

 

 

Drawing of second floor plan. / Courtesy of Stu/D/O

Winding Villa


Owner: Daniel Easson

Architects: Stu/D/O Architects (www.stu-d-o.com)

Design team: Apichart Srirojanapinyo, Chanasit Cholasuek, Thanut Sakdanaraseth, Pitchaya Kointarangkul

Prime Contractor: Double Click Construction


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ACH House: An Airy, Bright and Well Composed Indonesian Home

ACH House: An Airy, Bright and Well Composed Indonesian Home

/ Jakarta, Indonesia /

/ Story: Kanamon Najaroen / English version: Bob Pitakwong

/ Photographs: Ernest Theofilu /

Here’s a narrow lot airy Indonesian home beautifully nestled in the south of Jakarta. Named “ACH House”, it’s simple yet strikingly contemporary in appearance. A brick façade in rustic reds adds visual interest and texture to the exterior. To create a calm and peaceful living space, the house plan is divided into two parts with a lush courtyard in between that increases natural ventilation and daylight streaming into the interior.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home
A façade of bricks laid at a 45-degree angle adds a classic, timeless look to the home exterior, a perfect complement to nearby concrete walls in cool-toned white.

The south-facing property gets the most natural light during the day, plus heavy rainfall that varies with the seasons. To deal with the problem, the architects rose to the challenge by creating a perforated façade of red bricks laid at a 45-degree angle to keep the heat out and let fresh outdoor air into the home.

In the meantime, tiny vents in the wall let trapped moisture escape into the air and evaporate. This enables the building envelope to withstand wear and damage over a long period of time, while the classic color and texture blends with nearby concrete walls in cool-toned whites.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home

A flight of stairs on the left side of the house plan leads to the main living area on the second floor.

Walk in the door, and you find the home made up of two buildings separated by a lush center courtyard with a swimming pool. It’s a layout that strikes the right balance between the south-facing front building that holds service areas and a carport, and the building at the rear that provides quiet, more secluded living spaces.

The center courtyard offers many benefits. Among other things, it lets natural light and breezes into the home, thereby reducing heat trapped inside, a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home

ACH House is a well thought out two-story home. The first floor has all the service spaces located in the front building; they include a carport, storage, washing and laundry, plus a domestic employee’s lodging. At the same time, the building at the rear contains children’s rooms, study room and bedroom for houseguests.

Floor Plans. / Courtesy of Wiyoga Nurdiansyah Architects
A side elevation drawing shows spatial relationships on the left side, top, and the right side of the house, bottom. / Courtesy of Wiyoga Nurdiansyah Architects

The second floor holds the main living areas easily accessed via a flight of stairs on the left side of the house plan. The front building has a prayer room and the primary bedroom with a bathroom en suite.

On the other side of the pool, the building at the rear holds a roomy sitting space with a kitchen and dining room. For added convenience, all the upstairs living areas can also be reached via an outdoor ramp on the right side of the house plan.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home

The primary bedroom is upstairs in the front building overlooking a swimming pool and wood deck connecting to the living room at the rear of the house plan.

Taking everything into account, it’s an airy Indonesian home that embraces the beauty of simplicity. The house is built using materials readily available in the locality.

There is one exception. Its gable roof is adapted for use in a new environment. It’s made asymmetrical for good reason. The steep pitch roof facing outward provides excellent water drainage, sending rainwater straight to the front yard and backyard gardens below.

In the meantime, the reasonable pitch roof facing inward allows rainwater to flow away gently onto the center courtyard garden, an easy hack to protect against flooding.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home
Seen from the primary bedroom, the kitchen and pantry, left, and main living area, right, are easily accessible via a wood deck by the swimming pool. At extreme right, an outdoor ramp connects to the front yard below.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home
Asymmetrical gable roof design. A high pitch roof makes the interior feel more spacious, increases ventilation and is more effective in shedding rainwater.

The design team wraps it up nicely. Despite its narrow frontage to the street, ACH House is made for calm and peaceful living. It’s very well composed to form a beautiful whole with all the spaces and functionality needed to fill the heart with happiness.

Plus, there’s a sense of open-air space that comes from having a lively green center courtyard and balance in interior design. Together they work in tandem to provide the peace of mind for whatever the future may hold.

ACH HOUSE airy indonesian home
There is beauty in simplicity. This airy Indonesian home is built of materials readily available in the locality, including deep red bricks and cement.

Architect: Wiyoga Nurdiansyah, of Wiyoga Nurdiansyah Architects (www.wiyoganurdiansyah.com)

Design Team: Adecya Louis Azzahro, Ananda Trisiana, Mohammad Diky Priatna


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MA Architects Office: Integrating Natural Features in Workspace Design

MA Architects Office: Integrating Natural Features in Workspace Design

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Paul Phan /

Overcrowding conditions in Ho Chi Minh City have given rise to both challenges and opportunities for the design team at MA Architects, a homegrown architectural practice in Vietnam. Back in the day, their office was on rental property with little to no room for flexibility. Albeit equipped with air conditioning and modern conveniences, the small workspace was lacking fresh air and ventilation, a far cry from the environment conducive to a relaxed atmosphere and creativity.

Coconut fiber coverings shield parts of the roof for best interior lighting and insulation.
The front façade in cool-toned gray stands sandwiched between a vacant lot and a tall building on the street corner.

Because of that, they decided to break out of the confined space into a home of their own. The new office stands sandwiched between two properties, a tall building on one side and a vacant lot on the other. Its front yard landscape is infused with green foliage.

Thoughtfully devised, the design atelier with an awesome cool gray façade is open to plenty of sunlight and fresh outdoor air plus trees and shrubbery. And the result of all this: a workplace ambience free from disturbance, one that’s good for staff’s ability to create and stay focused on their tasks.

The hallway holds a reception room that’s light and airy.

Bringing the outdoors inside, the office holds workspaces set on concrete slabs along one side and a strip of sand earth for in-ground gardening on the other.

The small, 100-square-meter office space is nestled in a peaceful city neighborhood. It occupies the full extent of a rectangular shaped lot measuring 5 by 20 meters.

The building has a narrow frontage to the street. Its external envelope is built of brick masonry plastered to form a smooth hard surface. In front of it, a small earthen terrace hemmed in by lush greenery provides a neat appearance.

An isometric drawing shows three principal dimensions of architectural features with elements of nature integrated in interior design. / Courtesy of MA Architects
An architectural drawing shows the positioning of natural elements in relation to upstairs and downstairs rooms. / Courtesy of MA Architects
In cross section, a side elevation drawing illustrates cross air flow patterns through the workspaces and under the roof. / Courtesy of MA Architects
Flashback: A photo collage shows stages of construction in chronological order. / Courtesy of MA Architects

Downstairs, a spacious workplace lies connected to a woodworking shop in the back of the building. The meeting room is upstairs that’s open to allow plenty of natural daylight and cool breezes into the interior.

Overhead, the trusses that support the roof are made entirely of timber covered by transparent corrugated roofing materials for best indoor lighting. Where appropriate, sections of the roof are protected by dry coconut fiber coverings for insulation from the sun’s harsh glare.

A woodworking shop occupies the back room, from which a staircase leads to the second-floor meeting room.
The woodworking shop lies on the earth floor with a kitchen and bathroom at the farthest end.

Because when it rains it pours in the Tropics, it makes perfect sense to plaster the entire building envelope. The hard and smooth surface goes to work protecting the building from extreme heat and wet weather all year round.

Although relatively small in size, the office interior crafted of wood is impressive thanks to an open-concept, well-ventilated layout. While dry coconut fiber coverings over the roof make the interior feel cool and dry, the uncovered part works like a skylight turning indoors into a well-lighted place.

Besides light and wind, the architect also integrated other elements of nature in the design, among them earthen floors that cover parts of the ground level. Only the workspace and kitchen floors are made of concrete slabs for ease of use and safety.

Nearby, earthen floors add a warm, natural feel to the interior with plenty of room for growing plants in-ground. As the architect puts it, being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, anything that brings a touch of nature, however small, is priceless.

The second-floor meeting room is open to natural daylight and connects to the trees.

A building material of choice, earthen flooring makes it possible to fill the interior with healthy green foliage along the entire wall. Earth and sand absorb and release some moisture, which contributes to a relaxed indoor ambience.

At the same time, vegetation in the front yard and decorative indoor plants both in ground and in containers go to work in tandem keeping the new office building cool and cozy just like home.


Architect: MA Architects (www.facebook.com/mastudiovn)


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Tile House: Façades of Glimmering Tiles with a Story to Tell

Tile House: Façades of Glimmering Tiles with a Story to Tell

/ Lam Dong, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kanamon Najaroen / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

This eye-catching home with a glimmering tile façade is situated in Bao Loc, a town in Lam Dong Province on Vietnam’s Central Highlands. It stands surrounded by buildings made of concrete and metal scattered across the cityscape, calling to the mind the image of a hot and dry summer. The house is roofed over with ceramic tiles in subdued orange that fill the upper half of the external envelope. On the whole, it’s design that expresses the homeowner’s playful personality, curiosity and desire to do something new and different.

Tile House Vietnam

But the outer appearance seemingly lacking in vitality belies the fact that the interior is bright, airy and comfortable. Walk in the door, and surprise! There’s a lively courtyard at the center of the house plan illuminated by a rooftop skylight. The rooms are disposed around the plant-filled area enclosed by the walls, while rock garden ideas add visual interest to the interior landscape.

Far from being hot and stuffy, it serves as communal space that’s the heart of family life. It provides play room and a conducive learning environment for kids. For aging grandma and grandpa, it brings a special kind of pleasure — the joy of grand-parenting.

Tile House Vietnam
The house façade is covered in terracotta tiles in subdued orange, the same materials used for roofing.
Serving for camouflage, louver windows with angled slats blend perfectly into the façades of glimmering tiles. They are part of passive design strategies for lighting, cooling and ventilation in the home.

To maximize space utilization and for the privacy of this house and its next door neighbors, the architect decided in favor of a home plan that occupies the full extent of the land. The result is a curious amalgam of regular and irregular geometric shapes that make up a series of seemingly windowless facades.

From the outside, it portrays an image of a complex house plan, kind of a single-story home with a mezzanine. But inside, the interior space is neatly planned every step of the way from the courtyard floor to the circular skylight on the rooftop.

The overall effect is impressive, thanks to open-concept design that creatively divides rooms without using building walls. At the rear of the house, sliding patio doors open to a small private garden that’s calm and peaceful, a perfect sight to create deep relaxation.

Tile House Vietnam

Tile House Vietnam
The center courtyard illuminated by a rooftop skylight connects all the rooms in the house.

There is more. To maintain the lush Tropical feel of the courtyard in a hot climate, most people simply water their plants using tap water that comes out of the faucets. That’s not the case here. To save water, the architect chose a different course of action.

They brought the outdoors into the home and put it work watering the plants when it rains. In doing so, they made the corrugated tile roof incline inward toward the center of the house plan, whereby harvested rainwater is directed to the courtyard and out via an underground conduit.

This eliminates the need for installing the gutters and downspouts on the outside of the building, a clever hack to protect neighboring houses from a splash back during rain.

Master Plan / Courtesy of The Bloom
First Floor Plan / Courtesy of The Bloom
Entresol Plan / Courtesy of The Bloom
Section / Courtesy of The Bloom

For the most part, the living spaces are on the ground floor, except for a small mezzanine that’s the children’s bedroom.

For a relaxed indoor ambience, the ceiling is painted a cool-toned white. The tall side wall that reaches all the way to the roof truss has a large semi-circle window that admits natural daylight and fresh outdoor air into the room. Overall, the house is roomy and well-ventilated, thanks to double height living spaces.

Tile House Vietnam

Tile House Vietnam
The interior is light and airy, thanks to openings in the building façade where roof trusses meet the bearing wall.

Viewed from outside, a trio of louver windows with angled slats fixed at intervals blend perfectly into the façade covered in orange tiles. They are the same materials as those used to build the house’s corrugated terracotta roofing. The louver windows are part of passive design strategies that utilize the natural environment to provide lighting, cooling and ventilation to the building.

Tile House Vietnam

Tile House Vietnam

Tile House Vietnam

Tile House Vietnam

The children’s bedroom on the mezzanine is spacious and airy, thanks to a large window and double height ceiling.
Tile House Vietnam
An operable glass wall system separates the bedroom from a small private garden, creating a spectacular space for relaxation.

The external envelope covered in orange tiles is the biggest factor that gives this house curb appeal. Among other things, terracotta tiles are the materials of choice the architect picked for the protection of privacy in the home. In his words, they “communicate” directly with the climate characteristic of the locality.

Plus, they add the charm of rustic life to the home, at least from the perspective of Grandma and Grandpa who live here. All things considered, it’s a bioclimatic home that uses the natural environment in which it stands to create a perfect place for peace and relaxation.

Tile House Vietnam

Going in the reverse direction, the roof inclines inward toward the center of the house plan, whereby harvested rainwater is directed to the courtyard and out via an underground conduit.

Tile House Vietnam


Architect: The Bloom (www.facebook.com/TheBloom.Architects)

Construction: The Roof Builders


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The Hiên House: A Wood and Concrete Home Full of Balcony and Terrace Ideas

The Hiên House: A Wood and Concrete Home Full of Balcony and Terrace Ideas

/ Da Nang, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kanamon Najaroen / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Dam /

This Tropical style house is in Da Nang, a coastal city in central Vietnam famous for its gleaming sand beaches, Buddhist shrines and the Marble Mountains. The beautiful Han River runs through it. The home built of wood and concrete goes by the name of “The Hiên House” for its lively green façades, Hiên being Vietnamese for the semi-outdoor rooms along the outside of the building.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home

The house’s external envelope is simple yet contemporary in style enhanced by verdant balconies and terraces symbolic of homes in the Tropics. Plus, there’s a unique Vietnamese flair to it. As the architects intended, it’s a layout that speaks volumes for a lifestyle that seeks reconnections with nature.

The concept is manifested in the way the ordinary balconies and terraces transform into the proverbial “breathing space” for nature to recover from disruptions. That said, it makes perfect sense to live more sustainably in this day and age.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home


Wood and Concrete House

Situated away from a densely populated urban area, the wood and concrete house occupies the full extent of a long and narrow lot sandwiched between two roads. It’s home to three generations of a family highly skilled in traditional carpentry living in one household.

There are four stories of living spaces, excluding a rooftop deck. By design, the floor plans cater to the needs of different generations and hence vary in size and appearance from one level to the next. To celebrate the family’s distinguished career in carpentry, the architects made woodworking front-and-center concerns in house design and interior decoration.

During construction, the homeowners were also on hand to provide technical expertise at various stages in the process, especially where traditional Vietnamese woodworking skill was needed.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
The light and airy front entrance is visible from the driveway covered in stone pavers.

To help protect the environment, the design team at WINHOUSE Architecture, a design atelier headquartered in Da Nang, chose to use reclaimed wood instead of newly cut timber from the lumberyard. The recycled building materials used in this project included parts of the staircase, such as treads and risers taken from old homes that had been torn down previously.

Other parts were adapted from old decking, post sleeves, balusters and handrails as well as wooden fascia. They were made suitable for a new use or purpose. And, importantly, they were easy to transport and repair without using specialized tools.

Timber is durable even as it ages. It’s safe to handle and capable of withstanding heat and humidity in the air over a long period of time. Old and weathered wood has a natural appearance that’s beautiful and needs no preservative chemicals to prolong its lifecycle, which translates into big savings and convenience. Using reclaimed wood in combination with local knowledge and modern techniques add a new dimension to construction technology.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home


Balconies and Terraces for Free Air Circulation

What sets the four-story house apart from the rest is its surprising room ideas and lively green balconies that fill up the entire front façade. They are integral to a design that brings natural light and fresh outdoor air into the home. At the same time, they help dissipate heat from the building keeping the interior cool during the daytime.

Elements of design common for Southeast Asian architecture, the roofed open-air platforms along the outside of the building, be it the balcony or the terrace, perform many useful functions. Among other things, they expand the living areas, protect against the elements, and provide space for sitting rooms and passages for walking along.

First Floor Plan / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
Second Floor Plan / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
Third Floor Plan / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
In cross section, a side elevation drawing shows space planning decorated with plants working in tandem with wall openings to admit natural light and fresh outdoor air into the home. / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
Isometric visuals show reclaimed building materials being adapted to suit new purposes on all four levels of the new home. The message is clear: save the Earth and cut costs. / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture

As is often the case with most houses, the elements of design such as balconies and terraces are built on the outside of the house. But in this particular case, the architects think it wise to incorporate them in the interior as well, sort of like going in the reverse direction. First they put in an inner courtyard at the center of the ground floor plan.

Then, by disposing the rooms around the courtyard, the areas with a faint light, such as the sitting room and workspaces, suddenly become well-lit and well-ventilated. It’s a clever hack to bring the outdoors into the home. The result is a comfortable living space filled with natural light and fresh air that contributes to feelings of relaxation.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
The kitchen in the farthest room is well-lit and well-ventilated.
THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Going in the reverse direction, the terrace that in most cases lies along the outside of the house is put inside overlooking a lively green inner courtyard.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home

Taking as a whole, the traffic patterns and space design make the long and narrow house plan feel roomy inside. Walk in the front door and you come to a hallway that’s light and airy, thanks to a rooftop skylight illuminating the stairs connected to a foot bridge over the nearby inner courtyard. There is no need to turn on electric lights during the daytime, which translates into big savings.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Illuminated by a rooftop skylight, the staircase and foot bridge spanning the void over the inner courtyard make traffic flow easy and convenient.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
A well-lit foot bridge crafted of reclaimed timber connects the major living spaces in the home.

Climb a flight of stairs to the second floor, and surprise! It’s divided into two separate parts, the front room and the back room linked by a foot bridge that spans the void above the inner courtyard. The same space planning applies to the third floor, except for one thing. The next staircase leading to the fourth floor is positioned further toward the back of the building. The front part holds a bedroom with a balcony decorated with lush greenery.

 

Cross over the foot bridge, and you come to the back room containing a workspace and sitting room. The fourth floor contains a quiet, more secluded reading room with a bright and breezy small garden for relaxation. It’s a comfortable living space and the light is more diffuse under the canopy of trees.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Plants growing luxuriantly make the house façade green and lively.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Local builders skilled in traditional carpentry reinforce wood beams and pillars for increased load capacities.

In conclusion, the wood and concrete home called “The Hiên House” lives up to its name. All the elements of good judgement in design go to work turning it into an oasis of calm. Everything works out as it should, from a well-lit, well-aired inner courtyard to the plants, trees and small gardens thriving luxuriantly on the balconies and terraces. Perhaps, one word describes it all, salubrious!


Architects: WINHOUSE Architecture

Structural Engineers: Bim City


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Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House: Small Size Not an Obstacle to Decorating with Greenery

Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House: Small Size Not an Obstacle to Decorating with Greenery

/ Can Tho, Vietnam/

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: MinQBui /

This narrow lot house is located in Can Tho, a modern city in the South of Vietnam. It lies on the south bank of the Hau River, one of several estuaries through which the Mekong River empties into the South China Sea. Like any busy city, it’s no stranger to incessant activity and overcrowded streets. That’s a practical difficulty for the design team at Da Vang Studio, a homegrown architectural practice based in Ho Chi Minh City. And they rise to the challenge by integrating as much green foliage as possible in the house plan. The result is impressive. The gardens house with a narrow frontage to the street transforms into an oasis of calm, one that offers plenty of comfortable living spaces in close touch with nature.

gardens house
The solid external envelope keeps the house interior safe and secure.

The elongated house plan occupies the full extent of the land that measures 4.5 meters wide and a whopping 23 meters long. As may be expected, the external envelope of the house also doubles as the perimeter of the garden.

The exterior walls are built tall and unable to be seen through for privacy reasons. Yet, the design team has found a way to provide physical ease and relaxation. They called their design approach “Fitting”, meaning everything has to be kept in proportion, nothing more or nothing less than what’s necessary.

Albeit small, it’s a light and airy, well-thought-out house plan.

The Floor Plans of Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House courtesy of DA VÀNG Studio.
In cross section, the elongated house plan illustrates linear arrangements of rooms, functionality, and greenery spaces. Correct building orientation paired with solid exterior walls protects the home from the sun’s harmful rays. Picture by Courtesy of DA VÀNG Studio.
Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House
Healthy green foliage lining the walls and the face of the building keeps the front yard light and breezy.

Nhà Voi 7 Gardens House
The kitchen and dining room combo lies at the front of the house plan illuminated by a full array of rooftop skylights.

The two-story house on a narrow lot offers plenty of usable spaces arranged in order of priority. Go in the front door, and you come into the hallway that connects to a dining room and kitchen.

The living room is halfway down the passage with a flight of stairs set against the wall leading to the second floor that holds two bedrooms.

Nhà Voi 7 GARDENS HOUSE
The light and airy living room lies halfway down the passage decorated with small patches of greenery.
Nhà Voi 7 GARDENS HOUSE
Adding visual interest to design, arched structures separate the living room from the stairway connecting to the second floor.

The quiet, more secluded master bedroom lies at the very end of the first floor that opens to a small sun-kissed courtyard. It’s protected by a lattice patio cover that lets the sun shine through and drives natural air circulation.

The light and airy master bedroom on the first floor opens to a small backyard garden.
The master bedroom has a view of the bright and breezy backyard that lies protected by a lattice patio cover.

Gardens House

Calming color and texture add a relaxing effect to one of the bedrooms on the second-floor.
The glass-brick wall admits natural daylight into the second-floor bathroom decorated with plants.

What makes this tiny house unique is the fact that all the indoor and outdoor rooms are enclosed behind solid walls. The feeling of being boxed in is nicely compensated by small interior courtyards and patches of greenery designed for comfort and relaxation.

Of the seven green spaces incorporated in the house plan, the front yard and the backyard are the biggest and the greenest. Adding a touch of nature to the interior, low-light and easy houseplants are positioned at intervals along the walls. Even the bathrooms have small patches of greenery that’s easy on the eyes.

Although small in size, this gardens house comes complete with comfortable living spaces and modern conveniences for healthy living.


Architect: DA VÀNG studio (www.davang.com.vn)


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Tanatap Ring Garden Coffee Shop: A Design Experiment on the Interaction between Commercial Space and Nature

Tanatap Ring Garden Coffee Shop: A Design Experiment on the Interaction between Commercial Space and Nature

/ Jakarta, Indonesia /

/ Story: Baralee / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: KIE, Mario Wibowo /

Introducing a prototype of the small café well thought out as place for a rendezvous. Aptly named Tanatap Ring Garden Coffee Shop, it’s a work of outstanding artistry integrating restaurant space planning with nature to form a cohesive oasis of calm. The key elements of design include a sloping garden beautifully ensconced in a stadium-like enclosure. There’s a circular path at the top of the stairs for a leisurely stroll. At intervals, the paved path is marked with outdoor tarp canopies for protection from the sun. It sends out one important message — time well spent is time spent in the great outdoors.

Tanatap Ring Garden

The theme of an enchanted garden cafe is derived from a simple question. “What is it like if a piece of architecture behaves like it’s non-existent?” In this particular case, the centerpiece of the project is a lush tropical garden enclosed by a circular glass-block building envelope.

It’s home to a café space that lies hidden in plain sight, concealed by a grassy knoll that blends perfectly into the surrounding landscape. It’s a meeting place where people mix socially and interact with one another bringing youthful exuberance to this part of the city of Jakarta.

Tanatap Ring Garden

With respect to construction, Tanatap Ring Garden Coffee Shop is the result of three design strategies combined.

First of all, it’s well planned to blend with the healthy foliage of a tropical forest setting. This is evident in the preservation of all the existing trees on the property.

Secondly, the circular building envelope is designed to encompass all positive aspects of ornamental grounds where plants grow luxuriantly. Located at the center of the floor plan, the café covered by a grassy knoll affords a large room where people meet plus plenty of ample spaces for relaxation. A few steps away, remarkable garden design offers sensory pleasure and the opportunity of reconnecting with nature.

Lastly, it’s about enhancing customer experience by merging indoor and outdoor spaces bringing them together into a cohesive whole.

Tanatap Ring Garden

Tanatap Ring Garden

The overall effect is impressive. It’s a layout that strikes the right balance between the relative size of the project, the building materials used, and the impact of color, texture and natural light in the design process.

To reduce the harshness of the built environment, the building envelope is made of glass blocks that allow maximum daylight between spaces. They add aesthetic appeal to the place and blend well with the existing trees.

Tanatap Ring Garden

Tanatap Ring Garden

As regards functional design, walk into the café and you come to a counter bar occupying a central position. Carefully thought out design promotes ease of movement in every part allowing people to traverse through and around unhindered.

The circular glass-block wall that separates the interior from the garden is decorated with lush leafy plants. It’s marked at intervals with plain-looking sets of tables and chairs for customers. Nearby, a corridor creates smooth transition between spaces giving access to the yard on the outside.

Tanatap Ring Garden

The nature-loving café project is built amphitheater style. Like so, the commercial space is positioned at the center of landscape design. It’s a beautiful greenery-covered building adorned with tiers of outdoor seating set at intervals.

Meanwhile, the boundary along the outer circumference is filled with café seating situated directly below the concrete rooftop corridor made for a leisurely stroll. From here, a vista of high-rise buildings in Jakarta’s CBD can be seen in full view from afar. All things considered, it’s a piece of architecture devised from experience in tropical garden landscaping.

Tanatap Ring Garden

Tanatap Ring Garden

Tanatap Ring Garden

By design, Tanatap Ring Garden Coffee Shop is an experimental project involving new and innovative ideas for commercial space planning. In this particular case, it provides the opportunity of observing how users react to a less familiar environment. It’s implemented with a view to identify the furniture choice, seating arrangement and features in hardscape architecture that are right for business.

It’s a design that blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. The color green that fills the landscape has strong associations with nature, hence comfortable furniture and a conducive semi-outdoor environment make perfect sense.

Plus, it’s interesting to discover how well-planned open design can facilitate social interactions in everyday life.

Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of RAD+ar
Ground Floor Plan Courtesy of RAD+ar
Roof Floor Plan Courtesy of RAD+ar
Section Drawing Courtesy of RAD+ar

 

Tanatap Ring Garden

Tanatap Ring Garden

Aside from that, the recent outbreak of Covid-19 was also a factor that compelled the architect to undertake this experiment to determine how a commercial space with plenty of outdoor landscaping ideas performs in the ensuing days.

It’s exciting to see how new ideas in outdoor environment design play a role in enticing people to spend more time outdoors and live a lifestyle more closely connected with nature, one of many actions people can take to support sustainable living.


Architect: RAD+ar (www.radarchitecture.net)


More about nature-inspired designs similar to the above-mentioned are waiting to be discovered. It’s a chance to meet up with Antonius Richard, architect and founder of the architectural practice RAD+ar of Indonesia during the upcoming conversation event titled, “URABN FUSION / RURAL FLOURISH: Interweaving Urban and Rural Designs”.

It’s a part of the annual “room Books X Living ASEAN Design Talk.” This year’s panel of experts is made up of four distinguished architects from three countries. The Design Talk is scheduled for Sunday August 6 at the room Showcase zone inside BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2023, BITEC Bang Na, Bangkok. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. Mark your calendar!

For more details: https://livingasean.com/special-scoop/room-x-living-asean-design-talk-2023-urban-fusion-rural-flourish-interweaving-urban-and-rural-designs/

Register to attend at: https://amarinfair.com/booking/room-x-living-asean-design-talk


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Distracted House: Unique Roof Style Merges Javanese Tradition with Urban Modern Living

Distracted House: Unique Roof Style Merges Javanese Tradition with Urban Modern Living

/ Jakarta, Indonesia /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Andhy Prayitno, of Mario Wibowo Photography (www.mariowibowo.com) /

Nestled on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, an urban modern home aptly named “Distracted House” looks completely different from everything else. The densely populated neighborhood shares a common characteristic. It’s chock-full of one- and two-story homes closely packed in a way that it feels uncomfortable. To deflect attention away from the humdrum existence of a crowded space, a team of talented engineers at Ismail Solehudin Architecture came up with a clever idea for a craftsman-style home unlike anything else.

Distracted House

Distracted House

The result is a work of outstanding artistry made clearly noticeable by irregular polygons with unequal sides and unequal angles. But what makes Distracted House even more interesting lies in its irresistible power of storytelling.

Beautifully done, it looks the epitome of Javanese culture designed to showcase the ways of life, religious beliefs and traditional vernacular style unique to the Indonesian archipelago.

That’s what gives this home its timeless appeal that blends perfectly with the surrounding landscape.

Distracted House

Distracted House

The two-story, 420-square-meter building is home to an extended family with seven resident members on a normal day. On special occasions and holidays the number can increase to more than 10. That’s precisely a challenge that the architects had to overcome by creating enough usable spaces and functions to satisfy demands.

To fit in with the existing built environment, the only way to go was up. The architects relied on two building methods to solve the problem.

First, the roof was raised slightly higher than normal to create enough room for a mezzanine on the second floor, thereby giving the house extra living spaces, plus well thought out details make the interior feel warm and welcoming. This was achieved in a way that’s compatible with the mostly two-story homes neighborhood.

The second method involved putting in a courtyard with swimming pool at the rear, plus adding plants and greenery inside the home.

The pool that’s the focal point of the courtyard can be seen in full view from inside the dining room and sitting room. To bring the outdoors into the home, small rock gardens with lovely low-maintenance plants are integrated in the design, while skylights set into the roofline keep the interior well-lit during daytime hours.

Distracted House

Overall, the interior living spaces are invitingly comfortable thanks to a well-designed stairwell that opens to admit fresh outdoor air into the room.

Despite the limitations, attention to detail makes the home a special place to be and prevents it from becoming a stuffy, overcrowded space.

Distracted House

Apart from a bright and airy atmosphere, it’s the house’s outer appearance that’s getting the most attention. Plus, family traditions, lifestyle and religious beliefs play a part in determining the location of, and interaction between functional spaces in the home.

This is manifested in building orientation, by which the new home design axis is aligned with Qibla, or the direction towards the Kaaba (the stone building at the center of Islam’s holiest site in Mecca). Hence the Musalla, or room set aside for prayer in Islam, is located at the farthest end in this direction.

A place to quietly reflect inward and connect with Allah, it’s also used for religious ceremonies in the family.

Distracted House

Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
House Orientation Concept Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
First Floor Plan House Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
Second Floor Plan House Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture
Rooftop Plan House Courtesy of Ismail Solehudin Architecture

Like so, the main communal space of Distracted House is set oblique in relation to the rectangular yard landscape, an unusual layout that sets it apart from the rest. To synchronize modern living with traditional Javanese style and taste, the team of architects added Joglo house architecture to the design.

The term Joglo refers to a steep pitch roof at the center that was associated with Javanese aristocrats in olden times. The center of the floor plan is filled with smaller rooms and functional spaces, creating a conducive environment for a harmonious family life.

Meantime, areas on the periphery are roofed over to keep them in shade.

Distracted House

Distracted House

Overall, the building envelope is made of wood and concrete masonry construction painted white. Where appropriate, air bricks are used as part of the house’s ventilation system.

Except for its unusual shape, the entire roof is covered in terra cotta tiles in a dark shade of orange that’s consistent with other houses in the neighborhood.

Distracted House

Distracted House

In summary, it’s a well-thought-out design that speaks volumes for lifestyle, a strict adherence to religion, and cultural heritage passed down through generations of a family.

A new home made with skill, creativity and imagination, it’s a look that conveys a great deal about the residents through interior and exterior design.

Who would have thought that a home with absolutely unique physical features would ease into beautiful suburban vibes? Interesting, to say the least.

Distracted House


Architects: Ismail Solehudin Architecture (ismailsolehudin.com)
Lead Architect: Ismail Solehudin
Design team: Radhian Dwiadhyasa
Building contractor: Wani Build
Structural Engineer: Pt. Desain putra persada (new building) Andi Dzikril (building structure)


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House in Chau Doc: Rediscovering the Beauty of Localness

House in Chau Doc: Rediscovering the Beauty of Localness

/ Chau Doc, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki, NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS /

Here’s a home designed to create a good first impression. Named “the House in Chau Doc,” its external envelope is made of galvanized steel sheeting, ironwood (Xylia xylocarpa), wire meshes and right-angle steel bars — ordinary materials often associated with run-of-the-mill places of abode. For architect Shunri Nishizawa, there is opportunity in every crisis. Despite many limitations, he is able to put them to good use in creating a living space well suited to the surrounding circumstances, the environment and weather conditions characteristic of the area.

House in Chau Doc

Situated in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region where the mighty river passes and empties into the sea through various distributaries, Chau Doc is no stranger to flooding.

It’s a problem that runs like clockwork to the extent that the annual inundation of the Mekong River Delta is regarded as normal. That’s the circumstances that form the setting in which this house is located.

Designed to perform in the event of a flood, it has a set of stairs especially built to link up with the second floor when water overflows beyond its normal confines.

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc is a home built on a budget by choosing the building materials that are right for the circumstances. At the same time, it presents the opportunity of experimenting with materials and design techniques that can answer the lifestyle needs similar to those provided modern urban homes.

For this reason, the new home at Chau Doc comes complete with tranquil spaces that help people feel calm and relaxed. It doubles as a design laboratory, in which the building materials of choice are assessed for their looks and ability to perform in real life.

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

Despite the key elements of visual design evocative of modern urban homes, it’s the natural atmosphere that makes this countryside house feel calm, fresh, and welcoming.

This is achieved by bringing the great outdoors into practically every part of the home. Meantime, an open plan layout affords ample semi-outdoor family room and cozy sitting area.

House in Chau Doc’s Location Illustration Courtesy of Nishizawa Architects
House in Chau Doc’s Conceptual Drawing Courtesy of Nishizawa Architects
Section Drawing Courtesy of Nishizawa Architects
Structural Diagram Courtesy of Nishizawa Architects
Floor Plans Courtesy of Nishizawa Architects

What makes House in Chau Doc interesting is the open walls design that visually connects with nature and doubles as passive ventilation systems. This makes the interior living spaces feel comfortable without being affected by galvanized steel sheeting that forms the outer shell.

Plus, the house façade and rear walls are fitted with large windows protected by overhanging eaves. Together, they go to work allowing just enough fresh, outdoor air and natural light into the home, thereby preventing it from getting too warm or too uncomfortable during daytime hours.

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

House in Chau Doc

Taking everything into account, it’s a thought-provoking design that challenges us to explore deeper and wider to overcome limitations in a bid to create comfortable living spaces. With the power of the imagination, a home that inspires happiness and well-being is perfectly doable as this architect has shown.

Even better if the beauty of a locality is incorporated in the design.


Find out more about architectural design in sync with nature, as well as ideas for a possible course of action within the context of nature, climate and culture from Shunri Nishizawa, architect and founder of NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS, Vietnam, at the upcoming the “room X Living ASEAN Design Talk 2023.”

Meet up with a panel of experts comprising four distinguished architects from three countries. This year’s conversation event is on the theme of “URBAN FUSION / RURAL FLOURISH: Interweaving Urban and Rural Designs”. The Talk is scheduled for Sunday August 6 at the room Showcase zone inside Baan Lae Suan Fair Midyear 2023, BITEC Bang Na, Bangkok. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. Mark your calendar!

For more details: https://www.facebook.com/livingasean/posts/701628028672617

Register to attend at: https://amarinfair.com/…/room-x-living-asean-design-talk


Architect: NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS (www.nishizawaarchitects.com)


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Envelope House: Big Family Makes a Modern Space Feel Cozy

Envelope House: Big Family Makes a Modern Space Feel Cozy

/ Singapore /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: KHOO Guo Jie /

Here’s a home with a Modern space designed for a big family in Singapore. Its generous interior provides great sensory pleasure with fresh air and plenty of room where plants grow luxuriantly. Unique and neatly planned, it redefines the meaning of Tropical design, which in this instance is manifested in an intriguing combination that makes the home feel more comfortable.

Modern space

Because Singapore is an island, every square inch counts and it doesn’t come cheap.

To build a good home, one must ponder the question of what functions and useable spaces it offers, plus all the modern conveniences.

At the same time, it’s nice to bring nature inside to create powerful psychological effects. And from this point of view, this beautiful oasis with in the city is truly a gem.

Modern space

Modern space

The multigenerational household comprises three families. Naturally, it makes sense to accommodate the needs of every age group without sacrificing the common area that’s available to everyone.

Done right, it allows interactions to take place in the family. To facilitate the socialization processes, greenery space is added to the mix to let house occupants reconnect with nature wherever they may be.

The well-planned common area gives the gift of healing and the human touch that everyone craves coming home at the end of the day.

Taking everything into account, the contemporary cube-shaped house is in a league of its own. It celebrates the simplicity of open living spaces conceived and developed by the Singapore-based architectural practice ASOLIDPLAN.

Among other things, what makes it unique is the use of rectangular openings in various dimensions to make the building façade aesthetically pleasing. Done right, the openings in the walls and rooftop admit light and air and allow people to see out.

In this particular case, the building sits facing west, so every precaution is taken to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh glare keeping it nice and cool all day.

The answer lies in a complete rethink of the building shell design, hence the name “Envelope House.”

Modern space

Modern space

Modern space

Step inside, and you come to a gorgeous center courtyard with triple-height ceilings and skylights on the rooftop. It’s a clever hack to reconnect with nature by bringing the outdoors into every nook and cranny of the interior.

Houseplants perfect for miniature landscaping thrive everywhere, even under the staircase. Nearby, young trees with healthy lush foliage stand front and center next to a garden water feature with stepping stones that decorates and refreshes the room.

Looking for a quiet place to lean back and chill? There’s a nice sitting room with a garden view by the window.

Modern space

The second floor contains living quarters for elderly parents, while the third affords plenty of private residential spaces for grownup children and their families.

Here, fresh greenery is never out of style. It’s an awesomely cool Modern space, where the beauty of plants is present everywhere, whether it’s on the staircase or along the corridors.

The entire interior is so well-lit by skylights that there’s no need for electric lights anywhere in the daytime. And the house plants benefit from it, too, no doubt.

1st Floor Plan Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN
2nd, 3rd, and Roof Floor Plan Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN

Speaking of design, there’s a special feature that makes the house with a Modern space feel more comfortable. Its thermal envelope is made of energy-saver double-layer walls that form the first line of defense against heat and the elements.

Where possible, landscaping plants thrive in between the two layers to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh UV rays. That’s not all. There’s also a rooftop deck with green grass lawns for outdoor relaxation in the cool of the evening.

Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN

Modern space

In the fewest possible words, it’s a perfect example of homes well suited to a Tropical climate — a complete rethink of strategies that doesn’t rely on adding or extending a roof overhang to protect from inclement weather.

Plus, double-layer wall construction makes this piece of architecture original and unique in itself simply by bringing the outdoors inside.

By integrating a green oasis into the design of the house’s Modern space, it succeeds in dealing with limitations that come with overcrowded urban spaces.


Architect: ASOLIDPLAN (asolidplan.sg)

Lead Architect: QUCK Zhong Yi


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