Excerpt: Nara House by Nirostina Nisani effectively deals with the challenge of the limitation of a narrow and disordered form of land in terms of design criteria. The house functions in order of access by having the original store section in front. The central area has an inner courtyard that separates the store from the main house and exposes the natural light and the space inside. The design is playful yet simple, and it is hard to predict its functions from the outside.
[Text as submitted by architect] The old wooden house, a single-story shophouse, has been replaced by a new house that needs to be expanded to meet the needs of the growing family. Dealing with a limitation of only 4m wide and a disordered form of land is challenging in terms of design criteria, thinking about what the house would look like, or even managing a narrow space and unpredictable mass that would still be able to divide the proportion of the extended family. It’s a key design challenge.
The house functions in order of access by having the original store section in front. Open the middle area to be an inner courtyard to separate the store from the main house, but it is still connected by an exposed corridor on the second floor through the courtyard.
An open inner courtyard in the middle is also intended to expose the natural light and the space inside. Legal restrictions prevented the designers from opening the side of the house. The natural light and the connecting corridors opened as skylights, making the house more transparent and solving the narrow front. The back of the house is classified as a family space with a stairwell and dining room leading to the open courtyard in the middle, with the bedroom at the end of the circulation of the building’s final access.
The stairwell is designed to be wheeled with an open courtyard as a double volume, which connects the functions. Open up a full mirror to receive full natural light and see courtyard from the inside thoroughly.
The narrow interior space is combined with furniture arranged in parallel with the house along the stairs and the wall to increase usable space. White and black-tone materials make the interior more distinctive and interesting. Add a touch of black and white with natural stone and wooden floors to make the interior lively.
The facade is designed to blend with the neighbouring wooden houses but also to adjust the height to make the building less dense and transparent. The wooden doors in front of the house can be opened and closed according to usage and change the appearance of the house when choosing to open or close. This is a playful design that is simple, and it is hard to predict its functions from the outside.