Self-sufficiency is often imagined in a suburban setting, where more land is available near one’s home. But you don’t need large gardens or front yards to be self-sufficient. My client seeks self-sufficiency by growing their own crops and composting food wastage. To cater to her needs a large “L” shaped north-facing balcony has been added to maximise sunlight exposure. Also, a double-height living room allows natural light to flood in, reducing the necessity of using lights during daylight hours — but most importantly, allowing the architecture to feel the presence of the moving sun as it orbits across the living room area, casting different shadows and lighting effects onto the building’s interior.
To maximise the utility of a self-sufficient home, the apartment has also been designed to be a flexible space. The storage pod is not just a wall — it transforms the drawers into stairs and has a bed/ curtain hidden inside. The storage wall is part of the architecture, allowing the resident to change the use of the apartment. Whether it be changing the studio into a guest bedroom… spaces within the apartment change over time to adapt to the needs of the particular person/ occasion.
I have identified the three core functions of a home/work apartment as:
- gathering/ social: livingroom
- resting/private: bedroom
- work/ focus: studio
I have continued to recognise the scalene triangular form of an Ikebana arrangement through the asymmetric placement of the 3 spaces. However, I have reinterpreted the 3 elements Heaven, Man, and Earth into gathering, resting and work. These 3 spaces have been placed apart from one another to create clear boundaries. Being in COVID19 lockdown, I found that maintaining these clear distinctions is important to prevent work/study from spilling over into my personal life. Separating these three fronts would create balance. It would avoid the tendency to start studying from the moment you wake up and would also increase productivity as there will be fewer distractions nearby e.g the bedroom and studio are separated by a threshold staircase so my client will not have to battle the temptation of diving onto bed and losing hours of study time.
When considering the client’s daily routine, (and drawing from my own personal experience) architecture plays a huge role in determining a persons mood. In the busy and tightly compact environment that we live in today, our bedrooms usually have a study desk pressed up against one of the bedroom walls. When we wake up we usually see this study desk within our peripheral vision. Subconsciously we are reminded of all the work we have to get done, which is not the most ideal way of starting the day. So instead of waking up and seeing a study desk glaring back at you, in this apartment, you will wake up to sunlight flooding into your room and onto your face through the skylight located above the bed. Incorporating the idea of how flowers face the sun and open up towards the sky, I wanted to create an architecture where the role of the sun is an integral part of the resident’s day to day life -from the moment they wake up to the moment they sleep. Therefore I have designed a sleep space where the morning glow bouncing off the room surface will be the first thing residents will see as they open their eyes to the new day. In this apartment, the sun acts as a natural alarm that shimmers into the room. As opposed to current architecture where the dawn glows are often shut out but curtains, nature is embraced in this apartment. By embracing nature rather than drawing lines that divide us and them, this architecture enables the resident’s body clock to be put in sync with the patterns of the sun. It allows residents to wake up gradually, in a natural process.
“As humans, we’re very tuned into the sun, and our internal clocks are set by it. Waking up to sunlight will signal to your brain that it’s time to get up, and get the day going.”
By separating the 3 spaces, my ultimate goal was to allow the person living in this unit to feel at ease with their surrounding. I have attempted to achieve this by removing any work-related things from a space designated to sleeping and also by allowing the resident to wake up with the sun.
- Explore skylight openings further
- Light and growth
- equal light for the whole unit
- Consider all rooms acting like the bedroom and going darker towards the bottom (like a funnel). Have the light penetrating down and things growing up towards the light
- Greener inside the house. All growing things are on the outside. Consider bringing it inwards and creating a jungle. Ian Athfield’s house: how vines grow in from outside