Text description provided by the architects. Averagely 220 wet days per year plus frequent typhoon landings, a newly reform area incorporating alleys exclusively designed for pedestrian activities, with the dwelling needs of urban lifestyle and wide age range. What is the housing reflecting Yilan’s terroir and people?
Within 6*30m site, we propose three approaches in our design. First, by imputing an “Open Rain-sound Courtyard”, which serves as the spatial core. Second approach was to develop the “relative high-rise” comparing to lower rural houses, each level is planned with a “three dimensional living patios”, potted and functional for activities as well. Lastly, in the mid of a city lacking of open space, we aspire to elevate our rooftop garden as a new ground, suitable for watching the stars and listening to the ocean in urban solitude. “To Open and To Connect” is the strategy to answer the proposition.
Ground level opened to the street: Originally the garage, now reassigned to be part of public arcade for passersby, also for activities in the rain season.
Continuous courtyards: Each unit has a garden courtyard, with further plan linking them to form an ecological corridor.
Back alley open space: Kitchens are opened to the back alley, or lively alley, comprising vegetable gardens and outdoor sinks. Culs-de-sac become a community space for neighborly events.
Rain-sound open courtyard: Life and space both spread from the center courtyard, where to perceive Yilan’s rain and the subtle change of season.
Atrium to connect spaces and activities: a continuous curvy ceiling, fir-wood plate molded concrete, makes up the atrium. The atrium connects kitchen-dining room on the first floor, living rooms, hallway library, and a 3.5 m-deep semi-outdoor space on the second floor. By connecting the spaces, the atrium also gathers the activities in the house. For house shrine on the third floor, 2-story high book wall and a tearoom on the fourth floor, another huge slope roof covers all. An open riser staircase ventilates the house vertically and exhales the heat out.
Facing the road [outward], hollow brick façade gives a sense of ambiguity, and serves as frontier against typhoon. Facing courtyard and back alley [inward], vast openings let enjoyable sunshine and greenery in. Obscure outward but open inward, is a statement of attitude for new urban living.
An ecological pond, a vegetable farm in the backyard and a roof garden with esculent growth, are the natural touches proposed in the urban life.
Metaphors and Symbols
On Yilan Plain, Toucheng village shows traits of vernacular landscape: glossy shingle beach, cuesta rocks, aged alleys, ancient arcades, endless paddy field, pitched roof, rooftop additions, washed granolithic finishing, red bricks, corridors, housing courtyards, and potting sheds… All remerged in a new form in the building.