ESPACE House / APOLLO Architects & Associates
Text description provided by the architects. This small two story wood frame home is nestled in a residential neighborhood downtown. The clients, a couple with minimalist tastes and few superfluous possessions, wanted a private home on the compact lot that favored a spacious atmosphere over physically large rooms.
The land adjoins the north side of a narrow road and is surrounded by tightly packed houses. To preserve the privacy of this environment, the façade facing the street has no windows; all-natural light comes from a courtyard and clerestory windows. We used a rigid wooden frame to make the most of the facade. The door-like frame obviates the need for load-bearing walls on the north side of the house, allowing three windows to occupy the full width on that side, with a row of clerestory windows above. The built-in wall storage takes advantage of the shape of the frame’s posts, making the space functional even without additional furniture.
The most striking feature of the house, however, is daylight. In the family room which occupies the entire second floor, the three windows on the north side let in a soft and diffused light. Meanwhile, direct southern sunlight shines down the sloping roof and reflects off a wall in the room, illuminating the area near the windows. This light filters through the grid from the ground to the first floor, where the bedroom and bathroom are located. Additionally, light pours in through the full-length clerestory windows on the north side, casting beautiful gradations across the pitched gable ceiling and ensuring that the kitchen at the back of the house receives adequate light.
By treating the entire building as a reflector, we managed to create a separate universe of diffused light that makes the rooms feel spacious and echoes the unique, tranquil character of the residents.