When the word appropriateness is being associated with a work of architecture or defined within its context, many find themselves imagining a humble structure that conforms to the long existing norms and traditions. Nevertheless, if we were to really contemplate the definition of ‘appropriateness’, we may be able to grasp the essence of the word and what it attempts to communicate, and that an existence of a good architecture is derived from a true understanding in the intention and cause of its origin through a well, balanced relationship between space and time.
And for that matter, we might be able to see and comprehend that certain things that seem strange, alienated or contradictory to the status quo, norms and traditions can also be appropriate and even truthful to a specific, individual scenario or place. Baan Floated tree., one of Anonym Studio’s residential projects, may be designed to be physically opened than most houses, but the work is realized the balance the owners’ requirements and characteristics, and the nature of the site where the structure physically locates in.
Owned by a married couple who are both physicians, the house is situated on a 12 meter wide and 32 meter long plot of land on Ratchadapisek road, which is pretty much the centre between two owners’ workplaces. With the shape of the land and the owners’ requirement for a parking space that has to accommodate 5-6 cars, the architect executes the design inspired by a traditional Thai stilt house where the main functional spaces are located on the second and third floor of the building. The architect also decides to gouge out the building’s mass, consequentially creating a negative space that functions as a courtyard (commonly found in Sino-Portuguese architecture) surrounded by the living space, dining room and sleeping quarter.
In addition its long and narrow shape, the land is located less than ten meters away from the structure of an overpass situating toward the south and west end of the site. With this being the factors, instead of designing the house to face towards the north to escape the afternoon sun and provide a greater privacy for dwellers, and to follow the owners’ wish for a more animated and exciting living space, the design team of Anonym Studio chooses to scoop out the south-facing space at the semi-outdoor courtyard. Such spatial manipulation turns the dining and living area into the house’s main stage, facilitating an interesting dialogue and visual connection between the house and the surrounding public spaces and structures such as the roadways and overpass. And as a result, a surreal and exciting living space is created.
Nevertheless, to achieve the right balance for the dwellers’ living experience where visual accessibility is moderately granted while the actual living space is kept from being too exposed, Anonym utllizes architectural elements in the forms of walls, steel window frames, the openings at corners of dense concrete walls and large tree pots by arranging them into a layered sequence of diverse yet hierarchal spaces that offer varying levels of privacy.
Walking into the house at the ground floor, the ray of sunlight coming through the layers of the solid and glass walls situated towards the west leads one up to the upper floor via a stairway. The living room, which is located the nearest to the road and overpass, has a double-layered wall separating the house’s private space from the outside. The inner wall is a two-story high steel structured glass wall that stretches itself around three sides of the living area. Installed on this wall is a series of sliding doors that open out to the terrace. The two-meter height of these doors is equivalent to the height of the opening on the concrete wall. These architectural details are thoughtfully realized to render a comfortable and relaxing living area where the owners feel completely at home.
The architect also decides to create additional rectangular openings on the west and south wall. The openings are located at the level higher than the floor level, which enable the heat from coming into the building to be controlled while allowing the right amount of light to be reflected into the room. Collectively, the presence of these openings ends up making the overall ambience of the interior space more lively.
One of the things that sets Baan Floated tree. apart from other residential projects is how the connection between the living and public space becoming does not become less discernible when walking further inside of the house, but integrated in a rather interesting manner. The fact that the program puts the living and dining room in between the courtyard results in the two space being accentuated from other parts of the house and opening up to the outside surrounding the most.
Nevertheless, to effectively control the heat coming from the south and the west as well as the excessive presence of public space that can cause dwellers to feel uncomfortable, the architect designs the position of the trees growing in the courtyard to function as an additional green layer that helps filter the sunlight and obstruct the outsiders’ visual access into the living area.
With clients’ demand for a house of distinctive appearance, Anonym Studio works out the brief by refusing to define ‘being difference’ merely as a visually striking form but puts the focus more on the meticulously fabricated spatial sequence that corresponds with the current condition of the site and dwellers’ behaviors, ultimately creating a story that is specific and connected to the place from which everything is originated.