Rethinking the Vision of Architecture in an Alley:
Project Site Description ----
In old alleys of Taipei City, the street space is often narrow and lack of privacy. Privacy is a major concern for the people who live in there because the buildings are too close with each other, especially when windows are opened, you can see all the movements of opposite neighbors clearly, and this issue has caused lack of security sense; therefore, the residents chose fence and curtain installation to block transparent living condition - Curtains and fences became alley landscape. In addition, walking in the alley feels crowded and oppressive, the straight vertical walls on both sides are dry and dull.
Design Concept ----
“Dialogue with Alley” is the theme of this project, hoping that the architecture can break the traditional solid massing design, and improve the lack of privacy issue. Also, to the interior space, the architect purposely designed height variation on each floor and then reflected onto the facade design in a rhythm form. Implication from “Landscape Architecture” inspired the project design in order to be environmental friendly.
1. Alley Landscape --- Importing Trees ---
In old alley landscape, balconies are typically pushed out with stainless steel secured bars. These man-made elements are not friendly to the urban environment, so the architect imported natural elements, the basic elements that people are comfortable with, such as wind, sunlight, and greens into this project design. The natural elements, especially trees integrated with the building and transformed the alley to be a beautiful landscape.
2. Withdrawn Building Mass for Minimizing Urban Oppression ---
In this 6-meter wide alley, both sides are filled with vertical solid concrete buildings. When walking in the alley, it feels oppressive and crowded. The design of this project has moderately withdrawn the quantity of building mass, which opens more view to the sky and minimizes urban oppression.
3. Privacy Consideration ---
A good architecture not only considers the exterior appearance but also needs to consider the living experience of users. In this 6-meter wide alley, buildings are facing with each other and street is narrow; therefore, privacy is an important factor that needs to be considered. The facade design utilized crossing placement of trees and vertical ornamental metal grilles in a rhythm in order to provide visual masking for ensuring the privacy. In addition, the crossing design method also created solid and void multilayer, light and shadow variation dancing on the facade.
4. The Living Style of Interior Space ---
The crisscross volume technique of space broke the traditional Taiwanese flat volume design. Each unit has a 3-meter high subspace and a 4.2-meter high subspace. Both heights of subspaces cross with each other on every floor in order to provide flexible space usage and extend visual relationship. Additional creative space on the upper mezzanine makes living more interesting
5. The Beauty of Alley: Natural Material with Horizontal Pattern ---
Grey green natural stone on the facade has irregular horizontal pattern that reveals the beauty of natural texture. Along with dark brown metal grilles for visor and vertical tree plantings on the facade have softened the harsh lines of architecture, the project building becomes more livable, forms into natural alley aesthetics.
Wen Sheng Lee Architects and Planners is located in Taipei City, Taiwan and was founded by Architect Wen Sheng Lee in year 2000. The design philosophy of the firm is to realize nature combined with people-oriented thinking, incorporate and emphasize the subtle details of the inner character and then to pursue innovative design. Architect Lee also lectured part-time at universities and was invited to Japan, Czech Republic, and Australia as an expert architectural guide. The works of Wen Sheng Lee Architects and Planners are many and diverse, covering the fields of architecture, interior, and landscape designs. The types of projects include display house, religious, commercial, residential, and hospitality designs, and the works of the firm have been recognized by iF Awards (Germany), Good Design Awards (Japan), Dedalo Minosse (Italy), Design for Asia (Hong Kong), International Property Awards (Asia Pacific), ADA Award (Taiwan), and many other national architectural awards.