A concrete house in Taiwan by Behet Bondzio Lin Architekten contains many spatial surprises within a narrow structure.
Designing a house on a narrow lot in the bustling city of Taichung, Taiwan, called for a certain imagination—especially when it was intended for a family of three with an extensive art collection. The architects, a Münster, Germany–based firm, Behet Bondzio Lin Architekten, wanted to make sure the narrow (30 feet wide) and long (98 feet) house, known as Haus Flora, would be able to receive ample daylight, yet still afford privacy to its residents.
Concrete columns and beams often subdivide the spaces in the 15,000-square-foot house, providing a sense of scale. “We thought about architecture as aperture,” says principal-in-charge Yu-Han Michael Lin, adding that the concrete elements framed views that “arrest and release the stream of daily life.”
Circulation, flow, and views all become salient elements in Haus Flora's design, since open spaces or gaps within the systematically stacked volumes suffuse light from one split-level to another.
The floors are clad in teak, except when they are treated as internal extensions of the garden terraces: The living room, dining room, and sculpture gallery, for example, are sheathed in ocean-gray marble. Bedroom doors slide open and disappear, while bathrooms are placed inside blocks clad in contrasting materials (teak when set inside areas with marble floors, white-painted wood inside spaces with teak floors). Adding to this play of volumes, planes, light, and space are custom-designed glass cubes that match the pattern of the courtyard walkway and display the crystal collection.
Lin's client, Flora Tseng, who spent many years in the United States living near the ocean, says the center courtyard's grass and water give her a sense of her erstwhile scenic environment. But about building this unusual house in central Taichung? “We're proud to have a unique home that pushes forward architecture in Taiwan,” she says.
“To us, it's the perfect blend of design, comfort, and practicality.”
Gross square footage:
Total construction cost:
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Wood: Mei Ri Cheng
Skylights: Yong-Lu glass Co., Ltd
Metal doors: Yuan-Yi
Wood doors: Tsai Chin-Shui
Sliding doors: Tsai Chin-Shui
Fire-control doors, security grilles: Yuan-Yi
Special doors: YCND
Exit devices: Jia-Lin
Security devices: Jia-Lin
Cabinet hardware: Jia-Lin
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Tsai Chin-Shui
Paints and stains: Lu Ching-Chun
Wallcoverings: Lu Ching-Chun
Paneling: Tsai Chin-Shui
Special surfacing: Corian
Floor and wall tile:
Resilient flooring: Liao Deng-Zhou
Living Room Chandelier:
Bar: Poggenpohl, barstool: Walterknoll
Wellness Room: Manutti
Tea Room: Cor
Bathrooms: Duravit, Hansgrohe
Task lighting: LED101
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: TRANE