Lead Architects: chi hong, CHEN
Other Participants : Chihong Chen,Eric Su, Willy Chen, Louis Chen, Shuting Zhan
Text description provided by the architects. Kinmen, the remote island of Taiwan close to Fujian，was located in southeast shore of Mainland China and used to be military zone during Cold War. We found an ideal living location on the most verdant plain and hilly area in Kinmen. The site is leaning against Kinmen’s highest Mount Taiwu and overlooking at Fujian’s Mount Hongjian, is isolated from the rest of the world.
Pure geometric form immerses the building into the wild surrounding lightly. The brick factory specially customizes the brown three-hole hollow brick, different from the traditional bright red, matches the tone of the landscape. Compared with solid bricks, three-hole bricks are lighter and environmental friendly and equipped better thermal and sound insulation effects. More importantly the brick wall structure can be strengthened by rib bar through brick holes therefore the outer layer ganged brick wall, only 4” thickness, can be vertically built up to 11.5m high. The span of the window and opening is also up to 4.7m.
Because of Kinmen’s construction materials supply is dependent on main island Taiwan in distance and there is very scarce local construction manpower. At the beginning of design, it was decided to be built by steel structure which is prefabricated in Taiwan and composed with double-layer ganged brick outer wall in order to reduce the work types and achieving good coordination among different work types. This is the first project for me to design, contract and supervise or even build by myself. In project implementation, I understood the difficulties that owners and builders will encounter during the construction period, which has influences on my design attitude and concept in future.
Basically the building is parallel to the northeast trend of Mount. Taiwu. The geometry of plan is composed of 6m*6m structure modular. Through the large openings of southeast façade it is easy to overlook the four-season scenery of Mount. Taiwu. Solid northeast façade provide bedroom area a strong protection from winter monsoon. Children are wakening up from warm bed in early winter morning by sunlight through the only narrow glass brick window on the northeast façade. In order to intake southwest summer monsoon the public space like living area, roof terrace and garage are located in southwest area. The large window and opening are set back with shade to avoid direct sunlight. In wintertime the main entrance and garage are protected from the strong northeast chilly monsoon.
According to the longitudinal section，composite floor height design is crucial for visual and spatial movement in public area and helpful for natural ventilation and day light. The first floor is 1.4m higher than ground level therefore the high windows play an important role in illuminating the basement. The sunken courtyard is the extension outdoor space of my studio and place for outdoor activity without disturbance of northeast wind in winter. The leisure roof terrace which is outdoor space for master bedroom and embodied with spectacular view overlooking the green wheat field of eastern island and prospecting Xiamen city across strait. The vegetable roof makes the building merged into surrounding green field and mechanical facilities are placed on top of glass canopy hidden under the roofline.
Building life recycle is the important consideration from the beginning of design and dry construction method is also ideal for the building site lacking of professional labors and materials supply. The original texture of materials and exposed pipeline play the main role for the architecture outer and inner looking meanwhile exposed pipeline allow spatial growing and material recycling. Steel structure, thermal brick, hard wood, polished concrete floor, insulating glass, copper window flashing, etc. become the vital components of the building façade.
Water supply comes from the deep well collecting filtered clean water under Mount. Taiwu. The house sewage treated by septic tank is drained into ecological garden pond, which is purified by water plant, and the water creation enriches the whole ecosystem. The ecological garden pond is also the source of garden watering and overflowing water is drained to the surrounding sorghum filed.