Svarga Residence @ Batujimbar, INDONESIA 2012
‘RE-THINKING THE BALINESE VILLA PROTOTYPE’
THE AESTHETIC CHALLENGE
The challenge of this project was to un-balinese the typical Balinese villa form—both in terms if image and function—while retaining the intangible essence of the place. The idea was to question notions of the typical home and to un-do conventions in search of a new domestic idiom. The notion of the home, the house, and the dwelling was dismantled (the typical courtyard house re-thought), re-examined (the common thatch-roof elements substituted), and re-constructed (rather than traditional timber, steel was used extensively) into a new image and living environment.
THE FORMAL MANIPULATION
Questions about how a house functions were asked. The idea here was to create a wandering, endless, fluid, common living space that meanders through the site, in an s-shape manner. The s-shape form provides for an entry court in front and a private water court in the rear. The idea
was to create a series of spaces without definite borders which fosters a communal living experience downstairs. Access to private quarters are then made through separate individual staircases up to separate elevated ‘barns’ upstairs. Effectively, the barns become 3 separate little villas within the house. The barns sit on an upper garden, the ‘piano nobile’, are-constituted ground plane.
THE CONSTRUCTION EXPERIENCE
As building conventions in Bali defer from those abroad, constructing the house was a challenge in every aspect. Drawings were un-drawn as per site conditions, detailing were re-thought according to local expertise, materials substituted due to local limitations. These ‘negatives’ paradoxically enhanced the eventual product. Due to lack of provisions in Bali, elements of the house had to be constructed elsewhere then shipped to Bali. For instance, the steels staircases were manufactured in Jakarta, windows Surabaya, and aluminum cladding again from Jakarta.
RT+Q ARCHITECTS PTE LTD BRIEF BIO-DATA
Rene Tan and TK Quek of RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd, explore architecture as a inter-disciplinary craft that combines the elusive beauty of art and the rigours of building technology.
Since its founding in 2003, RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd have remained committed to the notion of architecture as a form of plastic sculptural art. The search for form is a preoccupation of the design approach. Distinct forms, pure shapes and clear lines form the basis of the RT+Q design language. RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd has done numerous projects, built and unbuilt, and continues to do works in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Works range from small individual houses, condominiums, resorts, offices and commercial buildings to larger-scale masterplanning projects. While the smaller projects offer insights into aspects of material and detailing, the larger ones provide opportunities to probe aspects of scale and form. The office continues to develop a style of architecture that is abstract yet rooted in the canons of classicism. RT+Q's approach to design often arises from an intuitive response to site and programme.
Apart from being involved in the professional practice of architecture, both partners are also active in teaching--having taught design, history and drawing and as external examiners at the National University of Singapore, LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore, Berkeley and Syracuse in the US and most recently at The University of Hong Kong.
Operating in a studio-like setting, RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd is built around a small group of individuals, each with a particular expertise in the separate aspects of the practice. RT+Q believes that the execution of architecture is essentially a collaborative effort, a synthesis of various talents.