I’m excited to experience a bit of tropical modernism in Southeast Asia. While I’m extremely excited for the food, culture, world heritage sites, beaches, and down time half a world away, I’m also very excited to see how modernist respond to the climate, materials and culture in a tropical zone. Here’s a couple of things I’m hoping to see.
Inside Out. Adapting modernism to a tropical climate pushes the integration of indoor and outdoor (average LOW temperatures never fall below 75 degrees F in Singapore, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City). Pilotis supporting columns free the perimeter of load bearing walls, allowing expanses of glass, moveable walls and shutters to open spaces, blurring boundaries. Pavilions, patios and expanse of water really do connect one to the elements.
Garden Spaces.Corbusier’s preference to rooftop gardens can be interpreted as gardens, everywhere. Many local architects respond with vertical gardens, and multiple landings creating a vertical oasis.
Great circulation. Did I mention the abundance of floating and spiral staircases in the work of Tropical Modernism that I’ve studied? These are great for allowing air to circulate.
Open Floor Plan.Open spaces to allow tropical breezes, blurring distinctions of room and usage. Interior passages ways allow heat and air to rise, creating soft breezes.
Sun Protection.Sun shades, cavity walls, light shelves, overhanging and cantilevered roofs, and other shading to block the sun allow for more comfortable environs.
Public yet intimate. Private, calm and quiet areas are achieved through shutters, louvers and concealed roller shades, to provide connection to natural light and views.
Materials.To hold up to local climate and moisture, traditional materials that withstand climate are incorporated, including tropical wood and tile. And as in many modernist structures, concrete proves to be a durable, inexpensive and efficient.
I’ll see you back in San Francisco in 2019.
David Bjørngaard, December 2018
Check out what I’m up to at Bjørn Design.