Our building is a botanic garden for titan arum, a rare tropical flower that is originally found in Indonesia. It is typically 2-3m tall and has a pungent smell when it blooms, which is known as the corpse flower. It has a growing cycle from a seed to mature flower and then back to a dormant seed. Every year, it will bloom and go back to sleep, and next year it will come back again. Inspired by its nature of growing cycle, our garden mimics the cycling experience both spatially and programmatically.
Our site is located in a suburban neighborhood on the southside of the mountain rainier. We found deep interest in the local context as they are so close to nature but still highly intervened by artificial designs. Looking closer to the local neighborhood, we found it ironic to see the unpretentiousness of these ungracious buildings and how they start to deviate from the banal. Each one is so different from another but at the same time they synchronize in the subrual context.
We intend to put our building in the neighborhood and reflect the phenomena in our two facades. One that is a wall towards the highway which became a barrier to protect the local community from the cars. And the other side of the wall became a mirror that collects and reflects the character from the local context which is the elements of the ungracious buildings.
In plan, two loops of space are surrounding the central courtyard, one is private for the keepers and the other is public for the visitors. The ground floor can be only accessed by the keepers. Living and working spaces are divided but also connected by a continuous hallway around the courtyard. A furnace and chimney is at the entrance of the building where keepers can burn the flowers. On the second floor, an exterior corridor provides space for visitors to view the flowers from above without smelling the pungent scent. However, visitors can still open the window to lean forward and look closer. The corridor continues to the interior library and cafe. And eventually it ends at the chimney.
Approaching the building from the highway, you can see it stands with Mountain Rainier in the backdrops. The wall blocks the highway from the neighborhood. While roofs slightly peek over the wall for a sense of mystery. When the keepers burn the flower, black smoke slowly rises from the chimney. The chimney is at the core of our design, and it is not just presented as a simple feature in the space. Rather, it is the starting and ending point of the entire house. Visitors enter through the chimney and exit through the chimney to complete the loop of a journey. It is just like the life of the flower. The newly born flowers are fertilized by the ashes of the dead flowers, which is also a cycle of the life system.