The Ant Farm House was designed by Taipei-based Xrange Architects, with the goal of preserving an existing stone house while giving it an extreme edge. The original home was wrapped in narrow, two-storey tall living spaces, creating the feeling of being in a maze, hence the home’s name. We’d love to get lost in the halls and rooms of this home, which offer surprises at every turn. Check it out!
Better visible by night, the “ant house” concept comes alive with the illuminated maze of windows zigzagging across the facade. According to the architects, “The ad-hoc openings of the old house, including that of defunct air conditioner openings, are preserved as the ‘found elevation’. Views of surrounding mountains and the city below are revealed through the overlapping of new/external and old/internal windows. The resultant irregularity gives an unexpected spatial signature to the house.”
Just like an ant farm, the wood detail flanking the double-height front entrance area is an intricate and earthy element that begs you to explore the depths of this design further. The exterior door of glass blends in with a two-storey glazed panel running form the ground up to the rooftop, flooding the front foyer with natural light.
Inside, a set of soaring, seven-meter high wood doors lead into the small but sweet, 1.2-by-2.6-meter study just off the front entrance. Measuring the width of a desk, this room features an “upholstered floor.”
Deeper into the den, this living room is spacious and airy, finished in a cool contemporary style but warmed up with wood floors and a striking, substantial custom seater of wood and loaded with cushions.
This one-of-a-kind sitting area defines an intimate hub within this vast open space, the perfect place for lounging in style. A large wood feature wall works with the wood floor and furniture, and sets the stage as the entertainment center with a movie, some music and good conversation.
The home’s original exterior walls, now inside, still feature the original door and window openings, which are now incorporated as new interior windows, doorways and display nooks for the revamped build. Even the old air conditioner opening finds a creative use in this new design!
The pantry is a sliver of space measuring 80 cm wide.
Just off the living area, a 0.8-by-5-meter bathroom may be small in terms of floor area, but the double-height ceiling floods this space with sunlight. A wood wall and floor are flanked by two white walls – one smooth and one textured, adding interest to this tiny nook. Look up, and you’ll see a surprising feature, a suspended glass guest shower overhead.
The home’s dark facade is a dramatic addition to this residential neighborhood, spilling down the hillside which is dotted with lush trees.
And in the center of it all, the house boasts its own private courtyard, concealed behind a wall that keeps prying eyes out from lets the sun shine in. One-third of the deck is a sliding roof that opens to reveal the garage below.
Here’s a deconstructed view of this interesting house plan, while illustrates how it all comes together. From the architects, “The Ant Farm House is an outrageously proportioned addition to an indigenous rusticated stone house; where newly added spaces are 80cm to 180cm wide and two storeys tall. The new house functions as a structural envelope that bolsters the seismic performance of the otherwise weak rubble structure.”