The main volume of the AB House is set back towards the steep slope of the mountain to maximize views of the valley. The public entrance to the house is via a set of stairs parallel to the face of the house, which lead down to a plaza. At the top of the plaza, a sculpture on a pedestal containing the letter box serves as both landmark and decorative item.
The design for this medium-sized site on the steeply sloping terrain of Dago Pakar Hill in North Bandung, was selected from nineteen entries submitted by the instructors and students of the Faculty of Architecture, Bandung Institute of Technology, in a special competition. Several factors had to be considered in designing a house for the site, especially the topography, slant of the slope, soil, and ground water content, as well as the needs of the client. What set architect Baskoro Tedjo’s design apart from the other entries was his placement of the house twelve meters from the road rather than on the official setback line and his generous use of multiple layers of glass and steel grids to allow enviable views of the picturesque countryside.
The house is composed of two vertically staggered volumes, one slightly larger than the other. To best capitalize on its hillside location, the architect opted to place the volumes side by side rather than one in front of the other as in conventional split-level houses, an arrangement that allows the spaces on all levels to share the same views of the valley through the houses’s expansive windows. The main volume, propped up on stilts at the lower end of the site, is connected to the road level by a bridge placed at the left (south) of the site. The two volumes are woven together by means of a set of stairs, starting from outside the house, that link the levels between and within. The result is a series of spaces that visually connect with one another, and views to the outside that are balanced by views within the house.
The composition of the two rectangular volumes, staggered vertically, is best viewed from the bottom of the site. The volume on the left accommodates the living and dining rooms and two bedrooms; that on the right the study, another bedroom, and the service areas. Circulation paths inserted between the two staggered volumes are clearly expressed by the set of concrete stairs descending boldly from the house to the bottom of the site.
Light and shade, visibility from the outside, views to the valley in the front (north) of the site, and airflow were of particular concern in the massing of the house. A simple terracotta hip roof helps to shelter the house from direct sunlight, particularly during the middle of the day, and the placement of the main structure away from the roadside also provides ample space for the fluid movement of air through the volumes. The platforms of the house, extending out towards the slope, protect the interior from intrustive views from the outside, at the same time allowing for the optimization of views to the outside.
Different floor levels and partitions, such as the concrete wall screening the master bedroom, viewed from the study below, and the tall window walls create a multitude of vistas in the atrium-like interior.
A profound sense of asymmetrical balance in the arrangement of architectural elements and furniture underlines the overall openess and emphasis on natural light in the AB House. A stunning red chair, a red tribal mask, and a predominantly red contemporary painting offer some relief from the severity of the black and white palette.
In the first floor plan (left), the living room, the retracted dining room, and one of the bedrooms occupy the main volume, while another bedroom and the service areas take up the smaller, secondary space. In the second floor plan (right), the master bedroom, with its pentagonal bathtub, occupies most of the right-hand side of the main volume, while the study occupies the secondary volume. Steps lead to the bedroom from the entrance foyer in the middle of the house, between the void and the study.
From the entrance foyer of the house, another set of steps, covered in striking dark granite, leads to the semi-enclosed master bedroom half a story above. Paintings by local artists adorn the walls throughout the house.
The volumes of the house are arranged around two circulation paths that connect the spaces both horizontally and vertically, the main path cutting through the two volumes, the second running between the sunken plaza at the back of the house. The main volume accommodates the living and dining rooms and a bedroom on the first floor, and the master bed room on the second. The secondary volume houses a bedroom plus service areas on the first floor and the entrance foyer and study on the second.
There are two entrances to the house: visitors generally descend the exterior stairs to the lower level, but the house can also be entered via the upper level of the main volume. From the entrance foyer, visitors descend via a staircase to the living room below, which is set on a raised platform overlooking splendid views of the valley. The dining space, retracted behind the living room, also enjoys vistas, as does the bedroom next to the dining room facing east.
The master bedroom on the second floor of the main volume occupies the entire open space except for a study. A whirlpool bathtub placed in the corner of the bedroom allows the owners to enjoy the scenery as they bathe.
The barrier between bedroom and bathroom is broken down in the master bedroom. Tall window walls allow unimpeded views of the Dago Valley from both the massive bed and the black granite-enclosed whirlpool.
A small balcony cantilevered outside the study room is a good place for a refreshing break from work.
BUKIT DAGO, BANDUNG
ARCHITECT BASKORO TEDJO BASKORO TEDJO AND ASSOCIATES
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