Bakrajo House / ZAKAA Architecture
- Area :
Zardasht Aziz, Kaiwan Coffee
Text description provided by the architects. The most common type of residential land in the city is a 200 m2 plot and usually surrounded on the sides by other 200 m2 plots, leaving only one open side, the shorter side. This idiosyncrasy of subdivision has had a negative impact on the way people think about the design of their homes and has led to equality in residential areas. The real challenge for us was to change the client’s mindset and convince them to design a custom home for them and not a copy of what has been built thousands of times in the city.
The five-bedroom house is located in a narrow alley of Sulaymaniyah city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and there were no special views to look at, so we tried to avoid all openings to the opposite neighbors and chose the sides because they offer more privacy. A series of curved walls form niches and they define the outer shell and curvy facade of the house. These walls hug the windows and prevent them from being exposed directly to the outside.
Instead of having a small yard at the front of the house like most town houses and becoming a vacant lot that is not used at all, we decided to create a courtyard at the back of the house as an internal void to let light and air into the house and to make the whole house transversely ventilated. The facade is not a direct extrusion of the floor plans, rather we wanted to make an architectural statement through the volumetric thinking of the plans, giving the house’s unique sculptural form the result of thorough research and so many iterations to deviate from the modus operandi of designing houses in the city.
It was very important for us to give the family a kind of privacy where they can sit where they want without being seen by anyone from outside and the need for curtains, for that we first reduced the windows at the front of the house and then we placed the windows in a direction that served that purpose, this reduction didn’t come at the expense of any aspect of the design, it just gave us more freedom and we used the alcoves to let light and air into the house in different directions .
The house looks so solid and introverted from the outside, but inside it’s open, spacious and naturally well lit. It is quietly waiting for passers-by to discover it in the place of equality and typicality of thinking about houses, and we hope it will stop passers-by to enjoy its unorthodox form and diversify their visual vocabulary of house design and perhaps give them a new perspective and shift their fixed vision to architecture. In a country that is in a constant state of destruction and reconstruction because of the never ending wars and economic instability, architecture is not something people care about, in most cases a simple building act is more than enough as long as it fulfills their functional needs, they are not looking for aesthetically pleasing built projects.