This three-floor residential unit rests in a quiet, small suburban township in Changhua City, South of Taiwan, and stands at the end of a series of townhouses.
Originally, this house was an abandoned bungalow and empty for some years. The owner intended to renew this obsolete, deserted structure to a dynamic, inhabitable house for his retirement. Therefore, the goal of the design is to inject vitality and energy into the building envelope and to provide the owner’s family with tranquil living spaces that are not only pleasing and functional but also beneficial to the quality of familial life.
The concept comes from two major topics—the intention to bring in the factors of nature and to break through the stereotype of traditional, commonplace lifestyle in southern Taiwan. The title, House 4x4x4, represents the core manipulations in terms of three design directions—a module of four-meter in the main building façade, four major indoor living spaces that stay closely, and a tailored design for the strong characteristics of four family members, including a Labrador.
The appearance of this townhouse was supposed to be low-key and inward, which reflects the specific culture of Taiwanese and its society. However, through its simple geometric shapes and lines, instead, it creates a strong impact to the neighborhood and stands out as an attraction for the broader audience among the neighboring communities.
The ground floor includes living room, dining and kitchen, where the whole family can stay together at day time. The design intends to leave out the partitions and makes it an open-plan layout so all the rooms connected seamlessly. It also works as an intimate place that owner can invite friends and show his kindness and keen hospitality to the neighbors.
By taking the centered stairs up to the second floor, it is the core area for the family lives. This floor includes two bedrooms on either side of the centered family square—it is a more private area than the ground floor. Above the family square, the void volume continues to rise through the bridge on third floor and reach the sky with a large rooftop window by 4×4 square meter, where family members here may enjoy the full, warm sunlight in the winter time and the abundant flashing stars at night as with sitting and resting in an urban park. It also creates a sense of a small universe, an introspected and harmonious world of human and natural factors. With the air vent on the rooftop, environmentally, it provides a natural and sustainable way of ventilation for the building, and reduces the use of artificial air conditioning. So, in reality, it claims a primitive life of back-to-nature for the retirees and the building itself demonstrates the true evidence of being an organic entity.
With the pure white paint in the appearance of the building and by taking advantage of light and shadow, this townhouse acts as a living box with full of light and story, standing tall in this ordinary community.