VGI House / Pranala Associates
‘VGI House’ is a private residence situated in North Jakarta, Indonesia. The design of this house was conceived primarily in consideration of two key challenges; The first is North Jakarta’s extremely hot and humid climate and the latter being a 288 m2 , long and narrow (9x32m) land parcel acquired by the client. In this regard, part of our design ethos is to rely as much as possible on principles of passive cooling and natural ventilation articulated through rigorous understanding of site and climate conditions. Thus, ‘VGI House’ is designed as a kind of ‘respiration apparatus’, constantly in flux, circulating air through a sequence of 3 interior voids doubling as communal and circulation spaces. As air is tunnelled through the narrow, corridor-like project site, it is pulled into the house from the main entrance and then channelled by the interior voids reaching all parts of the building.
Due to the site’s narrow dimensions, the plot boundary walls are utilised as an exterior membrane of the house, framing small vegetated ‘garden pockets’ filled with natural light and tropical vegetation around the house. These ‘garden pockets’ and the aforementioned interior voids function as semi-vegetated light wells, merging inside and outside dimensions while synthesising a soft tropical atmosphere within this urban domestic space.
In the climatic context of the 21st century, this house attempts to maximise natural light, fresh air and overall energy efficiency while still incorporating air conditioning systems that can be compartmentalised or contained throughout the interior spaces by an array of sealable doors and windows.
The environmental considerations in this project are also reflected in the material pallet of the house. For instance Cast-in-situ concrete and marble were selected to retain a cool atmosphere in the house keeping the interiors well insulated from the piercing Jakarta tropical heat. Ulin Wood was selected for all outdoor wood detailing due to its incredible resilience in a challenging tropical climate. Thus, material selection transcends beyond aesthetic considerations and further enables this house’s design ambition set to minimize maintenance and overall energy consumption.