Life in the city is something that everyone tries to escape. It is full of cars, noises and things that assault our senses. By stepping out of our comfort zone, we gain the ability to try a new lifestyle. The property is adjacent to the low-density residential area of the Agongdian Reservoir in mountains of Kaohsiung. In front of the property, there is a private 6 meter road that takes into account privacy and the safety of vehicles entering and exiting. The building is 6.5 meters away from the road. A green slope was created under the suspended wall on the second floor of the main building facing the southward hilly land. The natural grassy slope in the courtyard echoes the greenness of the hillside slope and extends the public space for the family. A number of Taiwanese beech trees were also planted to further enhance the greenness of the property. All of this is expected to allow the inhabitants to easily view the change of seasons while creating a rare atmosphere that is impossible to achieve in a city-like environment.
Due to the location of the residence, we knew there would be numerous local wild animal and insect species. With this project, we wanted to go further with its connection to the environment. The size of the building also affects the combination of internal and external lighting. What I could do was minimize the effect of the internal physical lighting. This lighting has been positioned in such a way that it doesn’t disturb the habitats in the area. It is not overly bright but also provides sufficient light during the day and night for its occupants.
The dramatic changes in climate have become the primary problem faced by the citizens of the globe. The choice of this particular property takes into account the heat island effect that is common in metropolises. The slope near the reservoir allows us to easily feel the temperature difference between the city center and the more natural location. Here, we factored in the typical south- westly wind direction during summer. This wind combined with the facade is why the building is much cooler and requires less usage of electricity to keep it cool. The building windows are aligned in a north-south direction to allow the air to circulate while obtaining indoor light. The east-west building facade follows a suspended shape to increase the shaded coverage and avoid direct sunlight. During winter, the hills block the cold wind. The direction combined with the suspended nature of the building means there is great air circulation which benefits the residents in a hot climate like Taiwan.
A large number of green trees around the building take into the location of the property and attempt to address carbon neutrality. At the same time, this manages to create shade and filter the ambient air quality.
The exterior of the building is made of breathable and environmentally friendly paint with galvanized steel. The interior design is not extravagant and tries to remain ethical and sustainable. Environmentally-friendly recycled materials have been extensively used so the structure is easily alterable. The reduced carbon emissions are expected to preserve more of the planet for the next generation.
Ken Lo is a well-known architect operating a boutique firm in the south of Taiwan. While having no formal training in architecture, in a relatively short time he has managed to assemble an impressive array of projects that have won numerous awards. Most recently he has been shortlisted for the Inside World Festival of Interiors. These days his projects are all energy-saving green buildings. This means that all his buildings ensure adequate ventilation and airflow to minimize the need for extra cooling. Within a building, the interweaving of natural light and artificial light provides a sense of stability in the indoor environment. Mr Lo's relationship with the green environment, architecture and interior space are all presented in his work. This bears similarities between people, life and living space. The thread of nature is something that he has held dear throughout his life and is something he hopes to carry forward into the future.