In the beginning were the trees. Or maybe the grass. Or the sun drawing shadows on the ground. Or the bamboos rustling and the water dropslets falling slowly amidst the faint smell of soil in the air.
In the beginning, it was not architecture.
Studio TonTon is an architecture studio that is progressively evolving. At first, it embodied of only twelve people. As the time goes by, the studio has developed into a 25-people practice. This development creates the necessity for Studio TonTon to be built gradually in accordance with time and existing conditions.
Initially, the existing trees on the site were maintained and became the fundamental elements that divided the building masses, which is one form of response towards the nature and the environment. Due to the building footprints on the two neighboring sites and their possibilities of being built higher than two-storey, bamboo trees were planted on both sides of the studio site as a form of vegetative buffer so that the site will not be affected by the surrounding conditions. In the entrance area, water feature was created as a buffer from the noise of vehicles. This water feature was made of three layers therefore its intensity can be adjusted according to the noise level.
The trajectory starts from the outdoor water feature at the entrance, continued by a tunnel with a low ceiling of +2.05 that leads to an open space. The addition of the tunnel as a part of the entrance creates a sense of unexpected moments due to the interplay between the two contrasting heights – from the lower ceiling into the open space. The sequence then followed with an open corridor and studio space of+2.40m height and full view of the golf course at the end. The corridor was filled with skylights to let the lights in.
The spaces were laid out based on linear arrangement and enclosed by glass walls that represent uniformity, openness, and transparency between the staff and the principals. The masses themselves were oriented on the long side of the site to maintain the view orientated towards the golf course at the back of the site, while the short side facing west. This overall arrangement was intended to augment the experience of being in an outdoor space and appreciating nature. Among the masses, an outdoor area was created and planted with grass. Overtime, some of the grasses died gradually due to the construction of a three-storey building on the adjacent site. This issue was circumvented by substituting the dying grass with white pebbles based on the pattern of the remaining grass. The pebbles became solutions for the storm water runoff and were continued up to the glass wall of the studio space in order to create an outdoor impression into the indoor.
In its development, a new meeting space was added as an experiment on scale and volume, material texture, and sunlight on a 3.5 x 5 m room. This new space does not want to rely solely on the golf view, therefore an inner courtyard with shades of white and snow artwork was created within. The room was also sunken to exaggerate the scale of the room which has a 6 m-high ceiling.
Afterwards, additional rooms such as 2.4 x 4m principal room were added to the courtyard area that was not covered in grass. The new principal room was sunken by 75 cm, allowing the desk to be on the same level with the grass outside and thus enabling a continuous view from the inside. In addition, an outdoor meeting space was added. Solid iron of 6 x 6 cm was used as the structure so that it does not distract the environment.
Adjacent to the principal room is a storage space for models. It was elevated from the ground so that it would not reduce the water absorption on the ground. With an elongated mass, the structures were inspired by the branched tree trunks therefore creating a Y-shaped structure.
Overall, the materials used on this studio are materials that have neutral impressions, such as white, and natural materials such as bangkirai (yellow balau) wood and local stone (andesite) combined with the green landscape. The white wall dominating the studio also acts as a canvas analogy - where the wall is able to capture the light from the shadow of trees and sunlight.