BAAD’s Opposite House

Benjamin Mendoza and An Bermejo are BAAD and they know it.

 

They called it the Opposite House because the clients asked BAAD not make it anything like their previous house–large, formal, white, with a high-maintenance lawn and pool.

Indeed, they got the opposite–the new house is compact, laid-back, sans pool and lawn, clad in dark gray concrete and timber, and topped with a black barn roof.

 

 

BluPrint visited the house twice–in July 2016, in the finishing stages, and April 2017, months after the owners had settled in. It was a blistering 32 degrees Celsius in July, and even hotter in April, with temperatures hovering from 34 to 37 degrees.

On our first visit, we looked askance at the black barn roof and braced ourselves for an uncomfortable shoot. Already, we were contemplating what to tell the principal architects, Benjamin Mendoza and An Bermejo, should the heat and discomfort prove undeniable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their beaming faces openly expressed their excitement and pride in the project. With good reason: the house is handsome in a friendly and open way. The lines are clean; the program, though unconventional, logical; the heights, widths, clearances, and edges, ergonomic and intuitive; and the attention to detail, outstanding. Most important of all, the clients were just as proud of the house, which, they told us, faithfully enables the easy-going lifestyle they always wanted to have.

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Two glass panes–a narrow strip on the left and one almost the size of a door on the right–allow people inside the house to peek at what’s happening out front. The gray steel mesh door on the left opens to a storage area. The entrance door is right beside the narrow strip of glass. The wood panels conceal more storage.
The husband’s cafe where he has breakfast and entertains work visitors. Behind the cafe menu wall is a spare bedroom cum office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then we’d encountered many houses whose architects and owners were pleased with their collaboration, blissfully ignorant their homes were unnecessarily hot and, if designed right, could have reduced the need for air conditioning by 40 to 60%.

Surprisingly, it was not only not hot inside the house, but cool and breezy!

Air entering the house through openings on the ground and second floors flow up to the attic unobstructed. Air exchange works particularly well when the sliding doors of the attic terrace are open.

 

Lots of storage space underneath the stairs

 

Most stairwells are heat traps, but not this one! Numerous openings allow warm air to rise and escape, and to be replaced by cooler air coming from below

 

Part of the reason the Opposite House is so congenial is there are benches everywhere for people to sit. Left to right: Benjamin Mendoza and An Bermejo of BAAD. BluPrint Creative Director Patrick Kasingsing, editor-in-chief Judith Torres, the lady of the house, and photographer Ed Simon

 

View from the bench where we’re seated

 

Another place to sit – the bench outside the master bedroom suite. But our photographer Ed prefers the steps.

 

No windows in the master bedroom–the clients wanted it completely dark and closed-off

 

The third level keeps cool because of the height and steep pitch of the ceiling, the insulation keeping the heat from the roof from spreading to the ceiling, and a large opening at one end of the space to let all the warm air out.

 

Husband and wife entertain friends and family at the top level of the home. The idea is, the closer you are to the couple, the higher up in their home you are allowed to go.

 

Having the dining area and kitchen up on the third floor is one of the peculiarities of this household. They do have a kitchen on the ground floor for heavy-duty cooking and food preparation.

 

The third-floor terrace. Note the welcoming bench

 

Opposite House by BAAD Studio features in the ‘Tropical Architecture for the 21st Century Volume 1’ book.