Text editorTsai Shu-tien
Text description provided by the architects. In this project, the home is more than 60 years old. Although it is a three-sectioned compound, it is not laid out in a traditional “embracing the courtyard” fashion. This reflects the fact that the previous home owners built it up section by section based on the clan’s economic means. It is close to Pingtung railway station. Because this part of town was developed earlier in history and the demographics have aged over time, the homes in this area include a mix of independent houses, makeshift temporary houses and three-sectioned compounds. From the rooftop, one can observe the passage of time through the style of buildings. When we first started the project, the roof was caving in like ruins. My task was to figure out how to “adapt” the home to a modern lifestyle without tearing down most of the walls, even though some of them were already crumbled.
Firstly, we made full use of internal and external space by replacing the existing roof with iron gray matte Japanese tiles. Sturdy yellow cypress panels were installed in the ceiling along with accents of fine bamboo blocks, allowing the skylight to
demonstrate a sense of leisure.
Afterwards, we installed a door in the anterior wall adjoining the back alley and reserved the anterior space for a washroom. This facilitates more natural light in the home and minimizes the impact of pipe laying on
the structure of the home.
The kitchen wall is replaced by glass, marking a departure from traditional enclosed kitchens, and extends the line of sight to both the living room and the courtyard.
All the windows of the hallway retain their original square,
round and diamond shapes. With the installation of the vintage stained glass, which is collected over a period of two years, the Traditional Clan Estate is rejuvenated as a modern work of art.
Although impractical, the iron windows revoke a sense of nostalgia. We cut up the iron windows and refashioned it as railings for the balcony on the second floor, retaining the beauty of the vintage iron bars. The original stone wash floor and the
old tiles on the wall are re-waxed and polished in imitation of traditional methods of construction.
Even when it comes to the height of the floor and the dimensions of the doors, we abide by the principle of “recover, restore and add new functionality.” The furniture and decorations that we brought in are a mix of 1940s to 1980s local Taiwanese designs and European designs.
They include rare vintage items that I collected from all over the world over a long period of time, including round wooden stools, Chinese medicine cabinets, rattan curtains, Indian lamps and German microscopes. In addition, I deliberately retained old bricks in the living room to form a mélange of red bricks from three different eras. Finally, accents of cypress, cement and terrazzo on the walls, ceilings and floors evoke a down-to-earth feeling.
Interior design triggers emotions and memories in residents and guests. We accepted this challenge to rebuild a traditional three-sectioned compound for a modern urban lifestyle. We also planted a tree sapling beside the children’s slide of the tree house, representing the hope of seeing the tree grow ever taller as the clan’s traditions are handed down generation to generation.