The Bodily Sensation
As Gaston Bachelard mentioned in his book The Poetic of Space, the sense of comfort comes from using the body to create a space, just as a bird using its body to push around a space in the nest. The essence of a nest is the sense of intimacy and security, which we have been yearning to create with tectonic means. How do we translate the endearing quality of a home into the materialization of a building? How do we create the dialogue between the visible and invisible interiority in a house?
The owner of the house is an artist. The placement of paintings and potteries, found object and collected items, as well as the senses, visuals, temperatures and sounds of the environments, together they form the beginning of a home.
The Fifth Elevation
The master bedroom hides itself in the center of the 2nd floor, with a large wood door acting as a barrier to privacy. Old furniture, closets and lamps populate the interior of the room. On the side to the bedroom as the center of privacy, there is a backside study, a corner of introspection. From the inside to the outside, there are the restroom, the westward balcony and the pseudo-facade.
The interior space is concealed from the outside, except for an exterior staircase passes over the master bedroom. The tightly constructed relationship between the interior and the exterior suggests a self-defense mechanism that is central to the worldview of dwelling. The single surface material of exposed concrete holds complicated internal spaces within the building, as in the traditional idea of a house, the building protects its inner courtyard and gardens from the outside.
Every new home is a search for self-establishment away from the original household. We pursuit an ideal prototype of living in the sense of Heidegger’s dwelling, existing between the earth, the sky, the mortals and the divinities. The “sky” in this project is the external environments on the site, while the “earth” is the complicated spatial condition and the westward exposure of the house. The “divinities” refer to the sense of security for one self while facing the world, and the “mortals” are the requirements to fulfill while holding a public gallery in private residence.
How to draw a line between inside and outside? It is a question of self-defense mechanism, as well as a subconscious idea of one’s ego. How does the self-defense mechanism translate to everyday behaviors, and further more materialized into architecture? The concept of the “uncanny valley” is the strangeness from everyday life, when the usual understanding of things becomes alienated. The “pseudo-facade” of the building forms a formal and mental protection as part of the ancient defensive mechanism in dwelling. Baudrillard claimed that the architects operate in the mode of “counterfeit” from renaissance throughout industrial revolution, and in this project we work with the “uncanny valley” concept to use the pseudo facade to solve the paradox of cognitive dissonance. The facade faces west, with its various openings connecting to the balconies in the back, themselves connecting to bathrooms before opening to bedrooms. The balconies are made of metal grills to dissipate the moist and the heat from the sunlight. The facade therefore becomes an elevation for the equipment, while supporting not directly to the rooms but instead mediating the heat from the western exposure. The only architectural element visible from the outside is an open-air staircase that is three stories high and leads the user to sense the scale of the house by their movements. The “pseudo-facade” creates an ambiguous appearance from the outside, while for the inside it is a wall with windows to peek through to the world.
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