5 Characteristics Of A Tropical Modern House

CEO Khai Intela
Tropical Modern houses are becoming the most sought-after architectural styles in many tropical regions. These homes are designed to be responsive to the climate while embodying the latest construction technologies. Whether perched on a cliff...

Tropical Modern houses are becoming the most sought-after architectural styles in many tropical regions. These homes are designed to be responsive to the climate while embodying the latest construction technologies. Whether perched on a cliff with a stunning ocean view or nestled among lush coconut trees, tropical modern houses are truly captivating.

What is Tropical Modernism

Tropical modernism combines the minimalist aesthetic of modern architecture with the climatic and environmental conditions of the tropics. It emphasizes functionality and eschews ornamentation, while incorporating techniques such as sun shading and cross ventilation. This architectural style fuses contemporary design with a high-performing climatic response, resulting in homes that are both internationally influenced and regionally charming.

The History of Tropical Modernism

Tropical modernism has its roots in Sri Lanka, pioneered by architect Geoffrey Bawa. Drawing inspiration from the modernist movement, Bawa seamlessly integrated tropical elements and cultural references to create a unique architectural style. While tropical modern houses have gained popularity in recent years, their ideas have been around since the early 1960s.

The Influence of Modernism on Tropical Modern Architecture

Modernism, which emerged in Europe during the 1920s, rejected traditional architectural styles in favor of pure, functional forms. The International Style, a product of this movement, prioritized simplicity and eliminated decorative elements. However, the International Style lacked a sense of place and focused on mechanical ventilation systems, disregarding the natural terrain.

How is Tropical Modern Different Than Modernism?

Unlike modernism, tropical modernism takes a regional approach to design. Architects sought to blend the clean aesthetic of modern architecture with the hot and humid tropical climate. Pitched roofs with large overhangs replaced flat roofs, while glazed windows featured sun shading strategies. The use of natural materials like timber, stone, and terracotta added warmth and texture to the interiors.

1. Pitched Lightweight Roofs With Deep Overhangs

In the tropics, lightweight roofs with deep overhangs are preferable to flat concrete roofs. Concrete roofs can retain heat and contribute to increased temperatures inside the home. Pitched roofs, on the other hand, cool down faster and shed water more efficiently. While flat roofs offer benefits like hurricane resistance and extra outdoor space, a combination of both roof types is ideal for a tropical modern house.

2. Timber Screens Or Brise Soleil For Shading

Large glass windows are characteristic of modern architecture, but in the tropics, they can trap heat and create a greenhouse effect. Timber screens or brise soleil provide shading from direct sunlight while allowing natural breezes and indirect light to filter through. These shading strategies are particularly effective on east and west walls.

3. Maximise Operable Windows And Doors To Outdoor Spaces

Tropical environments offer the opportunity to create usable outdoor spaces that seamlessly blend with indoor areas. Open plan living areas that flow into exterior terraces, patios, and courtyards create a sense of wide-open spaces. Maximizing operable windows and doors promotes natural ventilation and brings the beauty of nature indoors.

4. Blend Natural Materials With A Minimalist Aesthetic

Tropical modernism maintains the minimalist aesthetic of modern architecture while incorporating natural materials. Stone, terracotta clay, and timber add warmth, texture, and sustainability to the home. By using locally sourced materials, the environmental impact of transportation is reduced. Adding pops of color can also serve as a cultural reference to the region.

5. Open Plan And High Ceilings

Wide, open spaces with high ceilings not only create a sense of grandeur but also have climatic benefits. Open plan layouts allow for better airflow, while high ceilings help to dissipate warm air, keeping the lower levels cooler. These design elements contribute to a comfortable living environment without relying heavily on air conditioning.

In conclusion, a tropical modern house combines the best of modern architecture with the functionality required in a tropical climate. By incorporating characteristics such as pitched roofs, shading strategies, operable windows, natural materials, and open plan layouts, these homes offer a stunning and high-performing living experience. Embrace the beauty of tropical modernism and create a home that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally conscious.