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Villa, Hsinchu, Taiwan, 2014

Designed on four floors and around an internal courtyard, the design of this luxury villa was based on the traditional ‘two-courtyard’ Hakka house. The house, with an external walled enclosure, south facing courtyard, and external sliding shutters, is designed to be used for corporate entertainment, or alternatively, for occupation by three generations of a family. The enclosed boundary wall protects the house from north wind, traps winter sun, and is shaded in the heat of summer. A swimming pool cantilevers out over the western edge to the valley beyond.

This villa design turns on its head western precepts of house design. Instead of a house sitting in its grounds, the Taiwan villa uses Chinese principles of house design to make an inward-facing series of experiences. Traditional forms of Chinese courtyard houses start with choosing an auspicious site, and within the site locate the house to the north, facing south. A wall encloses the garden, and an entry is created into a first space that shields the main court. Meandering paths are made that prevent a view of the whole, and water is introduced for calmness and reflection.

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