Oct 1, 2015

'Breathe In', MARK #58, Oct/Nov 2015:

Mark Magazine
Publisher: Frame Publishers, Amsterdam
ISSN: 1574-6453


Just southwest of Jakarta, in the dense city of South Tangerang, is Breathing House by Atelier Riri, a project that occupies a symmetrical site at the corner of two streets. Defined by custom metal gates and brick walls, the building seems introverted, an indication of what’s inside: a calm cocooned interior. At 320 m2, the suburban two-storey home is peculiar among its peers, in that its roof–which features not a single clay tile–has been released from vernacular restraint. The whitewashed exterior could be mistaken for a misplaced piece of contemporary angular architecture, albeit understated and suffused with the craftsmanship of numerous local artisans. Its angles express more than pure form, however; their folded appearance reflects carefully considered environmental calculations. Architect Novriansyah Yakub, aka Riri, explains: ‘The house is diagonal to the path of the sun, which we countered with massive walls.’ Natural ventilation is encouraged to enter the interior from various directions, facilitated by glazed walls and walls of custom brick, some hollow: materials selected ‘to provide luxury and identity’. A grated gate gate further amplifies the ability of the house to ‘breathe’. Prominently positioned, and perhaps key to deciphering the semantics of the name given to the house, is a 1.4-m-deep pool at ground level; Riri’s circulation scheme spans the pool and wraps the water below, which is visible on every floor of the house. The shallow basin humidifies the interior during the day, cools it at night and simultaneously provides indoor aquatic play for the owners’ two children. Carved from the second floor–the main living area–is an external space half covered with grass. To further offset the lack of green space afforded by the slender site, Riri installed a lusciously planted roof terrace, rejecting the neighbourhood’s standard red tiles.

Atelier RiRi