How to Use Hollow Elements in Home Architecture
Visual permeability, ventilation and a strong identity appeal, the hollow elements have increasingly found their place in contemporary architecture. Whether in large buildings or small residences, they appear in different shapes, materials and compositions, helping to determine the degree of interaction between interior and exterior space. This artifice in a residential construction is an important tool to ensure privacy and intimacy, without losing the possibility of connections to the outside and natural ventilation.
Hollow elements have gained prominence in contemporary architecture, especially in tropical and warm places, while also appearing in new and distinct variations in facades, roofs and details in different types of materials and shapes. In residential architecture, hollow elements have created unique environments that integrate light, shade and natural ventilation with the need for privacy and visual permeability.
One of the most traditional ways of using these elements is in the combination of hollow pieces, such as hollow bricks, to form a sealing wall. This piece can be made of ceramic as in Ruby’s Cube by Srijit Srinivas – ARCHITECTS, in Casa Alegre by RAWI Architecture + Design and in the Bugambilias Apartments by Taller Mexicano de Arquitectura, or it can be made of cement, as in the cases of Breeze Blocks House by Tamara Wibowo Architects, Gabriela House by TACO taller de arquitectura contextual or Atelier House at Charlote Village by GrupoDEArquitetura, which added color to the hollow concrete blocks.
Another traditional way of including hollow elements is the reproduction of mashrabiya in a more modernized reading, as is the case of House One by Fábrica Móvil, 00 House by andreaponsarquitectura or Iguana House by OBRA BLANCA. In the first two, the large mashrabiya panel is made of ceramic, while in the last one it is made of cement. In all cases, they appear on a larger scale compared to the traditional and ancient musharabis that sealed the windows and doors of Arab architecture. At the same time, it is also possible to reproduce this traditional practice in a more contemporary way, as is the case of Teviot House by Casa100 Arquitetura.
In addition to the reinterpretations and adaptations of hollow bricks and musharabis, achieving visual permeability has also been possible through the combination of other constructive elements. In some cases, an element is created for this type of shading and permeability, as in andramatin’s Awrawikara House, where the brise-soleil is a hollow wooden element.
In other cases, the constructive element is used without undergoing major transformations, changing the way of fixing it. Examples of this are Smith-Clementi Residence by Rios Clementi Hale Studios and Pilará House by Besonias Almeida Arquitectos, in which wooden boards are used to create a hollow composition on the façade. At Elora House by Atelier Bertiga and at Arghavan Family Apartment by Alidoost & partners, the same thing happens when the way of fixing the solid brick is changed.
The hollow element is striking on the façades and therefore serves as an important identity tool for projects, as is the case of the VY ANH House by Khuon Studio, which combines hollow metallic elements with vegetation, or the Chapireh Residential Building by Bio-Design Architects, which builds a façade pattern from ceramic bricks, or from the Forma Itaim Tower by b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, which uses hollow elements and colors to compose its façade.
Finally, architecture has explored the advantages of hollow elements also in unconventional uses, such as in the project for the Ivanhoe Extension by Modscape, in which the wood on the facade serves more for visual permeability than for ventilation, or in the Viewing Back House by HYLA Architects that uses the pattern of hollow elements in the ceiling pergola, reproducing the play of light and shadow within the environment.