Jakarta based architecture and design practice RAD+ar has designed and completed a prototype house that integrates several passive design strategies to demonstrate sustainability in the tropical climate of Indonesia.

Located in Kecamatan Serpong Utara, the experimental prototype house, Passive Lab House designed by architect Antonius Richard is a spacious three-storey building featuring a double facade. The primary objective of the prototype was to reduce the internal microclimate by 4°C without compromising natural light or ventilation throughout the house. While the facades block the entry of direct sunlight and maximise privacy, there is no obstruction to views from inside, which is achieved by controlling the angle of the openings.

The secondary facade acts as the primary block against solar radiation, with the buffer space between the concrete panels and large glass openings preventing heat from entering the living spaces; it also functions as a transition space between public and private areas. Residents can enjoy the swimming pool here or the beautiful panoramic views into the garden from the balcony.

The prototype passive house also features a green roof that reduces heat gain in the building and maximises rainwater harvesting for use in the garden. A series of skylights on the roof keeps the interiors well-lit naturally, eliminating the need to use artificial lighting during the day.

One of the standout features of the house is a ramp at the entrance that leads to the swimming pool through an informal living area. The walls along the ramp serve as a personal art gallery for the owner. The concrete facade presents as a blank canvas for the surrounding vegetation, with the continuous play of shadows on the surface creating a constantly changing effect.

“In the ongoing unplanned urbanisation, urban houses are gradually suffocating, isolating, and cutting themselves off from friendly relationships with the surrounding environment,” RAD+ar observed.

“Passive design lab was meant to be a simple prototype of how one could apply a down-to-earth passive design approach in order to achieve comfort without relying much on artificial/active design for sustainability.”

Photography: William Sutanto