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By Ellie Stathaki
Designed by ID-EA, headed up by Elsye Alam, this house is not only a comfortable and elegant family home but a highly functional and inventive one too.
Built for the Los Angeles-based designer's family in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Alam Residence hosts two generations and three households in a single three-storey building. The different levels - one for her parents and two separate ones for her two siblings - are designed to balance a certain amount of privacy with a level of interaction.
The house's distinctive façade and positioning within its site - an open-fronted garden - is at odds with its residential context, comprising mainly of dwellings encased by high fences. But its perforated shell is not just about aesthetics. As Alam explains, it is the result of a 'hybridization of sustainability, privacy aspects and a graphical approach in solving these issues.'
The façade not only helps ventilate the building naturally, but it also keeps prying eyes at bay, as well as acting as a 'breathing brise-soleil'. The perforations also add to the sculptural appearance of the clean white volume, while hiding behind it the house's main staircase core, which acts as a buffer zone between the family rooms and the street.
The interior layout is 'E' shaped, allowing for two generous inner covered courtyards with skylights, as well as a lavish roof terrace at the very top. 'The high volume voids are the key features of the house, which bring air deep into its core and provide lighting conditions that transform the space throughout day and night, while fostering the interactive lifestyle of the family,' says Alam.
The interior of the white-rendered, concrete-based construction is designed in a light colour palette. The minimal spaces include several bedrooms, as well as areas for lounging, entertaining and parking.
The fact that the architect designed the house for her family also gave her a certain amount of freedom for experimentation with the design, while bringing them all closer together at the same time. 'This was one of the most collaborative moments in our family,' says Alam. 'We are much closer and understand each other much better as a result of the project.'
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