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A Bellwether Home Design that Changes with the Weather

by Susi, 23 August 2009


Arch Daily has enlightened us yet again. This time with a report on the Tic-Tac House by Brazilian architects FGMF. I don’t like the name, but I guess in Portugese, it represents the sound of a ticking clock, and this house design involves movement like the hands of a clock. But it’s not just about hours, it’s also about seasons, conditions, moods and changing functions. The  concept is a “timely” one for us, so to speak.


We live on a ridge, surrounded by rice fields, near the Indian Ocean, about eight degrees south of the equator. Wind, sun and seasons play havoc here. Half of the year strong trade winds blow from the east bringing sunny weather. The rest of the year storms sweep in from the west carrying torrential rain and intensely hot, humid conditions. Year round, the afternoon sun is blinding, and our west-facing rooms get scorched. Obviously weather really matters here.


We are just embarking on a building design project, for a second house beside the one we live in. This time we have the benefit of experience on the land in all kinds of weather. We know weather and sunlight must be taken into account more intelligently. But what does that do to design? How do we make a house that works in every season, and at every time of the day? Some residential architects make different spaces for different situations. That’s not only a compromise, however, it’s also greedy in terms of wasted space and materials.


The Tic-Tac House concept is a revelation for us, and just in the nick of time, as we’re still in the design phase. Not only is FGMF’s design practical, it is also beautiful. And livable. We certainly won’t steal it, but we will be influenced by it, and are studying Tic-Tac enthusiastically.

Bali tropical dream-house builders take note. Please. Or the dream might become a nightmare, as it too often does in this free-for-all frenzy of building that is Bali 2009.

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