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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Chen Minshuku in Tainan,Taiwan by TSDesign

December 21st, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: TSDesign

TSDesign group tried to reverse house’s axis by using old red-brick、old wood beam and modern materials, to match nearby human characters. Architecture style, materials, historical memory which form Tainan’s local architectural characters.

Night view : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

  • Architects: TSDesign
  • Project: Chen Minshuku
  • Location: Tainan, Taiwan
  • Client: Miss Chen
  • Character Of Space: Minshuku (B&B)
  • Principal Designer: Chao Yuan-Hung, Chi Chien-Ching, Wang Jun-Jie, Chen Hsuan.
  • Design Unit: TSdesign
  • Contractor:  TA-Shan Development Contractor Ltd.
  • Site Area: 178m2
  • Building Area: 77.55 m2
  • Total Floor Area: 132m2
  • Cost: 5.5 Million NT (Construction、Landscape、Indoor renovation)
  • Design Time: 2012.2
  • Construction time: 2012.8
  • Principal Materials:
    • Exterior Wall: Metal、Red brick、Painting
    • Window: Airtight window、Old wood window
    • Indoor: Oak, Old cypress
  • Photos: Tsai Tsung-Sheng
  • Software used: ArchiCAD, Sketchup, Paper model

Change the third room into atrium which distinguished public area and accommodation areas, added to interior landscape and also enhance ventilation and lighting. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Designer’s ideas

First meet with client who already had a whole house demolition license, discussed about the old house demolition, design and construction commissioned. The 50 years old house, except for only one meter wide roadway connection, the roadway is only three meters wide, demolition and construction works will be very difficult. In addition, client enjoy her childhood and also want to memorial their father’s trace here, we feel spatial reuse would be a better idea.

Modern hollow ladder coexist with old furniture : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

The formation of the space are based on the memory and the environment. Four intervals between the elongated old housing were preserved, but the old house surrounded by other houses, no appropriate gap in between.

  1. We removed the decadent old roof tiles and trusses, and also elevated accommodation units to the second floor, then guest rooms can have better view.
  2. Change the third room into atrium which distinguished public and accommodation areas, and also added the interior landscape.
  3. Protrudes from the space in front of the former storage room and toilet reserved changed to the outdoor Star-bar and extending friendship District, its roof by the way also becomes the exclusive landscape terrace of the second floor guest room.
  4. Interval steel pallets on the second floor, to let the sunlight shone.
  5. Water sander expose old red-brick wall which is belong to past times.
  6. Old window and frame reappear their rustic texture by wearing away windows’old paint.
  7. Lower down back building to avoid roof corner aim at neighbor’s house which is bad for “Feng shui”.
  8. Hidden aircondition units and water tower to backside, avoid disturbance from equipments.
  9. Furniture and memories of the 60-year history, also new and also old spaces, endue old house a new life, which is a wonderful continuation.
  10. Between the memory and the new, we seems did a lot, seems did nothing.

Living with old house must keep a following attitude. Actions cannot swagger between past and present, but must be accurate and effective. All design skills are hidden in the old house.

Front site : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Design Process

Pitched roof construction of the original building as a single-layer design, we decided to add a second floor light steel structure, dug a new foundation from the first floor slabs, light weight steel structure independent of the old brick house, avoid old the gables alone bear the new load of the second floor.

Front site : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Sacrifice the third room, converted into a the outdoor atrium,design team wish to retain traces of the original roof trusses, let people know this court used to be an indoor room. Therefore deliberately keep the beam cross-section of about 15cm, which cross section can also be too much trouble for seepage surface, particular strengthen waterproofing is needed, also led to a lot of construction troubles.

The top of the living room in front of the building extends into the exclusive residential areas on the second floor outdoor platform : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Design team convince clients to use hollow grille plate for the second floor slabs, to ensure ventilation and lighting on the first floor, the idea is from Tainan rainy season is only a month, but it can have a comfortable environment for other 11 months, although the rainy day will cause inconvenience but this sacrifice is worth.

Rotating ladder to become the protagonist of the atrium, scattered on the ground tile slate, are original buildings remaining material : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng


The main difficulties of the old house renovation project is waterproofing works, in particular, we want to expose the red brick texture. The original plan was to use a matting transparent waterproof paint, but in the process of paint trying, unexpectedly used varnish waterproof paint which form plastic film. It’s a safer way for waterproof. Nevertheless, the leaking points of the old house are still omnipresent. We totally modify five times.

Old hallway face to old fence : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

To avoid negative affect for exterior look by new air-condition equipments and new water supply&drain system.

Share drainage channels over 50-years which cause overall flow insufficient, new drain system improve it but will impact exterior look, hence, using elegant drowning chain can solve drain issue and also create beautiful landscape.

Original utility room changed to the open-air bar area : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

New windows, in fact, only one meter, the design team recycling reuse the old door piece for the wall, as an extension of the space implied : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

The hollow floor to improve lighting and ventilation of the first floor. The large windows of the second floor accommodation units have taken advantage of next door’s atrium. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

White cabinets coexist with old furniture naturally : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

The old gable openings increase the flow of the space, and Steel door frames to strengthen the original gable structure. Worn away old wooden window frames and steel lattice old paint. Expose the original texture by wood wax. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Deliberately keep the old loess and red brick surface, show the original look. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

High ceiling entresol, 1F is dedicated for living room, 2F is sleeping area. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Sleeping area’s large window face neighbor’s atrium. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Sleeping area’s large window face neighbor’s atrium. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Floor make by grinding cement. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

Deliberately retained the original beams cross-section. : Image Courtesy Tsai Tsung-Sheng

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Categories: ArchiCAD, House, SketchUp

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