A forest-like entrance marks this Jakarta house by Tan Tik Lam

August 20, 2018



Angel Yulo

Tucked in a corner of a small residential development in Jakarta, the house is set back generously by at least 12 meters from the street and shrouded by wild banana plants lining the perimeter wall. It stands on a 1000-square-meter L-shaped site, a composite of two lots. One enters the premises through gray laser-cut steel doors on the left side of a white boxy garage separate from the main house structure.

The garage faces east and occupies the smaller of the two lots which comprise the entire site. A 6-meter driveway leads to a carport, a recessed portion of the white box structure. More parking space inside is gated by a wire mesh. Service areas are atop the garage. The doors to the entrance walkway are on its left wall.
The arcaded walkway as seen from the house’s main door. The gray doors at the end open to the garage. The arches’ slender columns prop up the canopy and do not obstruct the view of the house and its outdoor spaces as one crosses from the garage to the main door.

Minimalism is shed at the threshold. The garage’s austere severity is succeeded by a sensory walk through a narrow arcade. Seven concrete arches standing 6 meters tall, spanning 3 meters wide, and spread along the 17-meter-long walkway repeat the same stepped corner details to the front door.

“The owner wanted a forest-like entrance, which is why we decided on this tall corridor,” said architect Tan Tik Lam. Slender columns echo the svelte trunks of nearby trees. The rhythmic arrangement of the organic and the rectilinear is also impressed on the decking as shadows are cast throughout the day.

From the east edge of the lot, one can see how the entrance corridor almost blends in with the row of trees. The low office wing occupies the west edge of the lot, here seen beyond the canopied walkway, with its windows given additional shade by the trees.

While the path is hedged by shrubs and leads only to the door, those who traverse it can look to their right for a panorama of the house’s outdoor spaces—the garden, the pool, and the deck. This 15-second-walk is where strangers transition to become guests, and if they visit often enough, friends. It also introduces guests to the culture of those living inside.

“The family keeps their Chinese traditions strong so we worked that in through the terracotta-colored floor in the living spaces and the geometric entrance arches, referencing the old temple gateways,” added Tan.

The house’s entrance foyer forks the path. Staying on track brings one upstairs. Turning right leads to the office wing, and left to the living and dining areas. With sliding doors on both sides for cross-ventilation, the 60-square-meter great room opens to the pool deck outside, increasing the social space with an additional 148 square meters. The room also serves as a buffer between the entrance and the master bedroom on the left edge of the house. This expansive space where people, indoors, outdoors, land, and water converge is the pause in the house’s processional narrative.

The living and dining areas are located in one room at the center of the house and open to the pool deck. An additional set of sliding doors on the opposite side allow cross-ventilation as the great room has a setback of 3 meters from the back perimeter wall.
The longest side of the house, parallel to the pool deck, faces north. Overhangs two meters deep protect the glazing of first and second floor from sun and rain, allowing the homeowners to keep these open in whichever weather.

Just like the space beside it, the master bedroom opens to the deck, giving the homeowners their own little poolside veranda. A 10-meter-long eave, with an incline of almost 40 degrees, segregates this portion from the more public area of the deck. Not only does the eave delineate the north-facing space and shelter it from direct sunlight, it also keeps the bedroom and the “outdoor living room” away from the prying eyes of neighbors who built a very tall house in the lot across.

The house’s main staircase is right in front of the main door. A sunny abstract painting marks the landing. Two tall operable windows on either side allow natural light in and also provide exhaust for the stairwell.
The roof’s eave extends all the way from the second floor, shielding the children’s bedroom windows, to the first storey on the house’s east edge. The area it delineates is the portion of the pool deck right outside the master bedroom. The pool stairs are on the corner of this veranda so the homeowners can simply walk straight out of their bedroom for a swim.

Many in the village opt for flashbang arrivals in the form of double-height Corinthian columns, borne not of Hellenophilia but of the desire to project opulence. In contrast, the house by Tan Tik Lam encloses verdure, family history, and a memorable procession. And the introduction to the home and the people who built it only happens when one is invited in.

READ MORE: Find out what makes an authentic ecolodge

Photographed by nilai asia

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]