Lanai house has a flexible interior balcony that embodies morning sun and the natural daylight

Lanai house has a flexible interior balcony that embodies morning sun and the natural daylight

The brief called for a 1-bedroom apartment interior design and remodel for a young couple. Two issues were initially brought up that turn the existing apartment constraints into the architectural design of the project - A need to have a separation between the common spaces and more private spaces, the lack of enclosed, secluded spaces such as a balcony, a study room, yard liked spaces for drying clothes and a kitchen.

The concept of Lanai (interior balcony) is introduced to separate the single continuous spaces into 3 enjoyable zones which embody natural daylight, the morning sun, and they can be spatially interchanging or interconnecting.

The proposed apartment interior - Lanai

The existing apartment condition

Capturing the Morning Sun
The house faces east, the perfect facing to harness healthy east morning sun in the tropical hot, and humid context (Malaysia). 

It wakes you up, dries the clothes in the apartment, gives life to the plant, good vitamins to our body, and brings a sense of hope to our soul.

The morning sun is less hot compared to the afternoon sun.

Lanai is conceived to not only capture the morning sun where the house is facing but also embody ample natural daylight.

The constraints. The existing apartment layout plan.

The existing apartment layout has small spatial redundancy that makes the apartment effective with fewer non-accessed or unused spaces

Can you control the degree of privacy in between spaces inside the house? 

If there is no drying yard inside the house, can you separate the cloth hanging area and living area? 

How to fit a diverse activity inside a small apartment?

This leads to a bigger picture question:
How can the interior of the house respond to the local Malaysian context?
Proposed sliding glass partition. The apartment kitchen-dining-living area is divided into 3 core segments with 2 sliding partitions.

The existing change of floor materials defines the spaces other than the masonry wall partitioning. 

Proposed change of living area floor material to intensify the sense of territory and defines transitional experience from one zone to another.

The proposed layout divides 1-bed, 1 kitchen-dining-living spaces into 4~5 zones. If needed, the study area and the entrance (kitchen) can combine to form a bigger creative space or close up with a sliding door to turn into a private room for guests or for work.

Proposed "single-line" form continuous shelving links the kitchen, the living, the interior balcony and unifies the 3 zones together. When the sliding partitions are opened to form larger spaces, the continuous shelves induce a sense of formal continuity, increase the sense of spatial continuity, and creative use.

Proposed Lanai layout.  

Proposed interior balcony layout options. 

The Design Strategy

Hybrid spaces - when 1 + 1 equals 3
In small apartment spaces, there is no need to perfectly delineate spaces with only partitions or wall units such as the kitchen and its immediate walkway. As much as spaces are experienced tangibly, existentially, it is gasped in gestalt and psychologically as well. 

The new kitchen is an entry foyer, it is also a walkway. A kitchen designed without an island has enabled that, top with the ability to enclose with a sliding partition. 

When the sliding partition is closed, the spaces can function as a kitchen for cooking, and it wants the user to feel an encloser of a foyer.

In a small size house, you can have a dining table becomes a pleasant work area.

The interior balcony enables the two or more activities to take place in a well-lit, plant-fill, utilitarian, personalized-able, and creative environment.  

From embracing natural daylight, to embodying natural daylight in a space
The sliding partitions are designed to allow natural daylight to penetrate through interior spaces that reach the kitchen. 

When a certain area over a certain angle of vistas needs visual privacy, rib glasses on the sliding partitions blur them. 

Embodying cool air in the morning
In the hot and humid climate, during hot days, open up more fenestration doesn't guarantee cooling room temperature. 

With too many openings into the outside hot air and blowing hot breeze, room temperature normalizes to become as warm as the outdoor hot air.

A better solution to optimized room temperature to comfort zone is to have control over fenestration, where you can have alternatives when want to. For example, get maximum open apertures to draw cool air indoor during cooling hours, keep and stores cooling air indoor, get the maximum open aperture to draw out hot air in the shortest time interval when the indoor is too warm. 

Lanai has 2 new internal sliding partitions, 1 external fenestration (the existing casement window) at the living area, a total of 3 sets of operable doors and windows that makes cooling an indoor spaces interesting.

During hot days, you can restrict hot air at the interior balcony by shutting the balcony sliding partitions.

You can have many water elements in the interior spaces, cooling water temperate can cool small spaces down. 

In the morning, when the indoor air is cooling, having the fenestration closed can keep the room temperature cool until some point in the midday, the sun starts to heat the east wall of the house and warm the interior up slowly through thermal conductivity.

Having all fenestration and curtains closed can get you a rather cooling morning than have all the sun shading and fenestration opened to the morning sunlight. Conversely, sunlight will be the free energy to help keeps you healthy and your place hygiene. The key is operability -  the ability of an interior to have the option to change whenever necessary.