When architect Tamara Wibowo decided to move back to her home country of Indonesia after living 12 years abroad in Minneapolis, the adjustment period came with an extra challenge: building a house from scratch for her family of five.
While the humid tropical climate initially proved a challenge for the U.S.–trained Indonesian architect, Wibowo successfully adapted to her new surroundings with the "Inside Outside" house.
"This house was a little experiment and also a huge learning experience," explains Wibowo. "For as an American–taught Indonesian architect, the challenge was not being familiar with the construction system and the materials that are commonly used in Indonesia and learning about the tropical climate."
Located on a corner lot in the port city of Semarang, the 5,900-square-foot property comprises three volumes that are divided by function and arranged around a decades-old mango tree—a focal point that marks the arrival area with views of the inner courtyard.
The three masses—separated into the primary living areas, service areas, as well as garage and office—are clad in cool concrete and oriented in the north-south direction to mitigate unwanted solar gain.
Large openings, lined with teak and set back from the facade, open the interior to the outdoors and are positioned for the cross-breezes that stem from the Java Sea in the north.
"Being back in Indonesia, our family wanted a house that allows us to enjoy as much sun as possible without being too warm in the house, and a house that breaths and opens up to nature," says Wibowo, who sought to blur the boundaries between indoors and out.
"The house focuses on creating sequence of experience that brings the focus back to nature through spatial overlapping of indoor rooms and outdoor rooms and presents the light coming through the skylights and large openings."
The dining room—the family’s favorite room—best envelopes Wibowo's vision for the house, as it is fitted with floor-to-ceiling operable glass on both sides to open the space to greenery, natural light, and wind.
Geometric Tegel Kunci clay tiles line the floor, while white pendant lights complete the room’s subtle floral finish.
Architect of Record: Tamara Wibowo Architects
General Contractor: LL Contractor
Structural Engineer: Teddy Suryadinata
Lighting Design: Terang Sejahtera Jaya
Interior Design: Tamara Wibowo Architects
Cabinetry Design: Asia Furniture