Living in a home with large north-facing windows and outdoor balcony is ideal in a city with plenty of sunshine all year round: Kaohsiung, Taiwan. As there is no direct sunlight, one can enjoy a whole day of soft natural light; as heavy curtains are not necessary, one can enjoy the fluttering light curtains from the slightest breeze. We transformed the original 198sqm residential space for 5 people into the spatial demand of less than 2 people. We proposed an open plan to for better ventilation and natural light flow, and the same time to provide flexibility in case of subsequent family expansion.
Under this concept of openness, we regard furniture as an important element for space division. When moving furniture is equivalent to the switching of space functions, it also creates possible future spatial changes. How should the wall be placed to achieve this concept? The answer is: breaking boundaries.
Under the social norms of rapid urban development in Taiwan, it is very common that the living space is combined with working space in a standard residential layout. In this project, the existing north-facing large windows have divided the interior width with a ratio of nearly 1:1. The overly homogenous space proportion reduces the visual sense of hierarchy. We installed a 3.4 meter low TV wall parallel to the north-facing windows to break the existing proportion to create a new spatial behavior, not limited by the existing space. The 1.3 meter height of the TV wall is allegedly built lower than normal in order to allow natural light and wind into the spaces behind. When viewed from the entrance toward the balcony, one can observe layers shadows, depth and blurriness.
As we create new spatial usage to the plan, we also maintain some existing layout of the space. The thick beam distinguish the “new” and “old” spaces. Toward the balcony is a clean and flat ceiling canopy to create a sense of free flow, under which furniture can be freely moved. On the other side the existing concrete slab on top is exposed, under which the dining area, kitchen and main walkway maintains the same arrangement. The vertical supporting structure of the wall shelves touches the ceiling from the ground in order to show the integrity to the roof.
From the entrance, a continuous wall mounted birch plywood cabinet runs through the dining and living and platform area to the balcony. The continuous volume acts as a ruler which one can use to visually measure in the open space; the curve at the end of the cabinet tries to imply the raised floor behind the TV wall. The raised floor extends the balcony to the interior; it is a sit on the floor platform where one can separate oneself from the open space.
As the wall mounted wooden wall cabinets bring warmth to the open space, the only structure that sits on the floor is the TV wall that is finished with black iron. As time will bring oxidation on the black iron finish, we anticipate that the material can slowly change with time. From the factory heating production, different expressions of the black iron finish are gradually accumulated; the stable dark color also gives the space a sense of stability and not excessively floating.
In the rapidly growing urbanization where residential spaces are often monotonous, we try to break the existing architectural lines through versatile design strategies to create symbiosis between the users and the space, a very important evolutionary factor under the relationship.