“I want a simple, single-story home. No step, just a minimal, open, comfortable interior space with rooms that can access the outside garden.”
The feeling of true tranquility when sitting back and looking out into the simplistic beauty of nature surrounding the wooden terrace of a temple in Kyoto is remembered as something akin to a profound happiness. The experience becomes a memory, retold in one of the many conversations between the owner and architect of Baan Pop Residence, and eventually the genesis of the inspiration that gives birth to the design of this one-story home.
Despite the fairly large piece of land of almost 1,600 square meters, the owner never intended to build a big home that would take up all the space. What they were looking for was a moderately sized, one-story house with the basic functional spaces and the architectural structure that wouldn’t be taller than the height of the fence. The remaining part of the land would later be occupied by an outdoor, luscious garden, allowing the presence of nature to work its magic.
Looking in from the outside, the house is perfectly shielded by the fence and luscious garden. Once the gate opens, owners and visitors are greeted by an expansive garden space that gradually ascends to the structure of the one-story home; an oversized rectangular box standing humbly with massive openings that connect the interior space to the large wooden terrace and the garden. The architect uses the wood kept from the dismantled old houses the owner had lived in the past 40 years of their lives. The wood is polished, repainted and arranged to reveal the beautifully natural wooden pattern.
The U-shaped floor plan comes with a space at the center, housing a courtyard where another portion of green space is located. “Essentially, the house is designed to contain the functional program that corresponds with the direction of the wind in order to maximized natural ventilation, and consequentially lessen the unnecessary use of air conditioner. The ceiling is 4-meters in height, which grants an incredibly lofty and spacious living space. The steel roof structure renders a physically and visually lighter mass and structural outline. It makes the interior space look and feel more comfortable despite the house being only one-story high, unlike most one-story homes where the distance between the roof structure and dwellers’ eye level tend to be uncomfortably close. The thermal insulation is installed at the ceiling to prevent the heat transfer from affecting the comfort of the interior space. The outline of the steel roof structure flows in a stylishly minimal pattern commonly found in the local architectural aesthetics, seamlessly connected to the wooden part of the ceiling, which extends to the eaves.”
The functional spaces are arranged in a straightforward order, from the living area situated next to the dining space and the kitchen. Located further in respective order are the prayer room, an office and the bedroom. Each of these functional spaces has large glass doors, which offer direct access to the central courtyard. The living room is designed to have extra large terraces facing both the courtyard and the front garden. When both walls are opened, the house’s living space is simultaneously embraced by the beautiful presence of nature.
The garden space at the central courtyard serves as the lung of the house for the area can be accessed from all the living quarters, welcoming the dwellers to rest and enjoy the beautifully diverse flora of the landscape where the trees, bushes and groundcovers are growing. It is on this terrace where the owners peacefully observe and appreciate the presence of nature, reminiscing the happiness and peacefulness they once experienced at the temple in Kyoto.