RAD+ar’s Refraction House in Indonesia: A Glass Block External Skin

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RAD+ar, a design studio based in Jakarta, Indonesia, has unveiled its latest project, Refraction House. This renovation aims to address the challenges of optimizing a deep plan structure in a tropical climate while reimagining the role of glass block walls as privacy barriers.

In order to maximize natural light in the deep plan structure, traditional walls have been replaced with a series of glass block combinations. These blocks refract natural light deep into the center of the house, ensuring that internal functional areas receive a natural light intensity of 300 lux. This creates a well-lit and comfortable living space.

To combat heat issues caused by the east-west facing facade, the design incorporates a pragmatic solution. The front and back terraces have been enclosed to provide efficient heat release, while open-air balconies slow down the release of heat at night. This strategic design choice allows for a more comfortable living environment in the tropical climate.

The incorporation of mini internal gardens plays a key role in maintaining natural light levels. These gardens are strategically placed to prevent vegetation from obstructing light and are integrated into courtyards at the back, front, and middle of the site. This not only enhances the overall aesthetic of the house but also provides a sense of tranquility and connection to nature.

RAD+ar’s design approach emphasizes functionality and minimal intervention, retaining the majority of the existing structure. This creates a living space that reflects a dynamic environment, resembling a walkway in a park within a single building. The use of glass blocks allows for translucency, offering a versatile canvas that can adapt and evolve with the changing lifestyle of the family.

Overall, Refraction House showcases RAD+ar’s innovative approach to design and their commitment to addressing issues of privacy, light, and heat in a tropical climate. The project successfully transforms an unsustainable structure into a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing living space, proving that glass block walls can play a crucial role in creating sustainable and functional homes.

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