I’ve always believed that Tropical architecture needed to be more ‘open’ for lack of a better word. A drive through urban Lagos, reveals the bulk of housing design being these rectilinear concrete boxes dotted by small, inefficient windows. Even terrace houses that need all the’openings’ they can get, take on a similar look, with tiny fenestration making for an uncomfortable interior without the use of mechanical means. This, for the most part, is not tropical and not suited for our climate. However this home in California, while not a perfect example, comes close to what I’d like to see in an urban contemporary tropical landscape.
It is called the FLIP HOUSE, designed by San Francisco based Fougeron Architecture. As you must have already guessed, what endears me most to this structure is the glass facade that brightens and ventilates the home. Granted there may be security and privacy issues transposing this idea to the Nigerian context, but with a bit of ingenuity, one could adapt this striking design to create something viable and practical.
Heres the architect’s description,
The Challenge was to reconnect an erratic San Francisco home to its striking landscape, light, and views and transform its confusing program with a new modernist aesthetic.
A complete flip of the home’s façade and interior spaces that reinvents its typology and captures all advantages of its natural and urban site. Like many San Francisco homes, this one poorly integrated its many levels with each other and with its sloping topography and solar orientation. Reversing its reading, we recast the back of the house as its primary façade with a faceted, custom-built glass wall. Divided into three vertical panels that push in and out, this dynamic prism brings animating light and spectacular views to the communal living spaces, now placed at the rear. Bedrooms were flipped to the front.
We also rationalized the circulation, replacing disconnected staircases with one rear stair that smoothly links all three levels and the garden below. The street-level entry now leads to a generous foyer that is open to this staircase and to a guest room/den. The open plan of the second floor allows the kitchen and living room space to look down into this den and outward to the striking city, Bay, and garden vistas beyond.