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Homage To Simplicity
Known to many as the Paris of Indonesia, Bandung, the third-largest city in Indonesia boasts a cooler climate and is surrounded by lush mountains. And within this landscape is a home designed by Andra Matin that aspires to connect with nature through its design elements.
In architecture, vernacular design is defined as the simplest form of addressing human needs, which is seemingly forgotten in modern architecture. However, in recent times as sustainable dwellings and living is becoming popular, more architects from around the world are embracing regionalism and cultural building traditions, given that these structures have proven to be energy-efficient and altogether sustainable.
In this time of rapid technological advancement and urbanization, there is still much to be learned from the traditional knowledge of vernacular construction and of the best person to learn vernacular architecture from is Andra Matin – one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Indonesian architecture and a living legend in the design profession. Known for his clean and modern approach to architecture, his work has always emphasised a sense of harmony with the environment.
Applying that same principle to the IH residence which happens to be iconic to him and his team, Andra explained that for this particular project he and his firm were asked to design a home for a large family on a land measuring about 60,000 sq. ft. in Bandung. As this home was built in a neighbourhood with low density, it was possible to create a detached house for the family. The owner had requested for this family residence to have many functions yet to the vastness of the landscape.
As the site elongates and slopes up from the south to the north, it was advantageous as the landscape itself was craftily used to emphasize the different heights in spaces and varying circulations. The northern part of the site is higher than the rest of the site, defining the main building by enclosing it and still creating a certain intimacy within the site. A long, large massing which is the starting point of the architectural design is built in the centre of it while keeping the massing detached from any site walls to enable cross ventilation along with the building.
The large mass is balanced with an optimal size of terraces, balconies, and wide pools that were built all across the perimeter. To make the mass lighter, the facade is dominated by clear glass and small columns. Due to the site, the circulation was designed progressively by using long ramps, while long corridors are aided with reflecting pools and a direct view of the landscape.
As Bandung is prone to high rain precipitation every year, in order to take on the rain and avoid direct sunlight, the house has a wide set of eaves that can go as far as 5 meters. Though the wide cantilever isn’t easily or widely accepted, the owner of this abode had acquiesced to the use of the wide cantilever idea since this is functional and manifests the character of tropical climate houses. To ensure the authenticity of a tropical home is reflected in this home, Andra Matin and his team collaborated with local consultants located in Jakarta & Bandung, including lighting designer and landscape designer.
Through clever collaboration, they succeeded in creating a modern tropical ambience with subtle lighting and a lush garden to emphasize the dominant landscape of the house.