Winner of the Tatler Homes Design Award for Best Architectural Concept, Jim Caumeron takes us through the process behind creating the Viewpoint House

A lush acacia tree in a nearby park is the inspiration and focal point of the Viewpoint House, a glorious, modern sculpture of a home designed by Architect Jim Caumeron. Currently a teacher at St. Benilde’s School of Design and Arts and winner of the Tatler Homes Design Award for Best Architectural Concept, he still can’t believe the attention this project is receiving. “I didn’t really expect Viewpoint to blow up like this," expresses Caumeron. “But I just gave the best idea I could within the parameters and limits that were set. It was a very good project and I was lucky with the clients.” Earning the full trust of the homeowners for both the architecture and interior design allowed Caumeron to materialize his vision.

Caumeron graduated in 2002 from the University of Santo Tomas but only began to practice in 2007 after seeing elaborate scaled models in an upscale furniture store in Greenbelt. “It was then I realized that architects are progressive thinkers because they see the world in 3-dimensional forms .” Encouraged by this, he began his apprenticeship with Arch. Joey Yupangco followed by stints with Chut Cuerva and Tish de Borja of Archipelago Designworks. Admiring the works of Architects Ed Calma, Jorge Yulo, and Henry De Jesus as well, he was inspired to design with the goal of striking a balance between progressiveness and quality workmanship.

He always knew that the right client who can understand his design style would come along, and in this case, it came in the form of the Viewpoint House.

Read on to learn more about the creative process behind this year’s THDA winner in Best Architectural Concept:

Viewpoint house is extremely innovative, particularly for the local landscape. Would you say that Philippine clients are more conservative, or more averse to new shapes and bolder forms? What is the profile of the people you designed this for?

My friend’s sister and brother-in-law were looking for an architect. The husband is a cardiologist and the wife is a radiologist, which is the reason why we put a library. I think one important thing is that when your clients are trained professionals, then they treat you professionally as well. They trust you, and they wait for your decision. They were dream clients, to begin with.

What is the concept behind this house?

I try to come up with a unique idea for each client per project. In this case, the concept was derived from the site itself. It’s an L-shaped lot, there’s really nothing to celebrate on all the other sides of the property, nothing remarkable, but there was a small park nearby which had a big acacia tree. That was the starting point—most of the spaces in the design of the house were looking out onto that tree. That view of the tree informed the design language and the trapezoidal form of the house.

What were the needs of the client that guided you in shaping the house?

They asked for the typical family house: they wanted two rooms for their boys, a library, a master bedroom, a dining and a living room, etc. And a guest room on the ground floor to transfer to when they are old.

See also: Home Tour: A Good Class Bungalow in Singapore With Classic American-Style Spaces

You were asked to design the interiors as well. Did you have a hard time?

Yes, because I’m not an interior designer! I did recommend some interior designers but the owner wanted me to do it and I said yes so I could curate It according to the architecture. So I designed all of the built-ins, the cabinets, the bookshelves, and even some of the furniture. There’s a lot of hidden storage in there. Furniture was mostly from Daaz using South American wood and were reasonably priced. Most of the custom furniture and lights were done by my friend Joseph Rastrullo.

Most of the lighting fixtures were integrated into the ceiling, can you share more about this?

The dining and living room lights were also inverted trapezoids – it echoes the architecture of the house. There are also lights incorporated in the small squares found along the ceiling to make it look like the light from the walls are crawling up.

The square motif is strong in the house. Can you tell me about the ones seen on the façade?

Those perforated squares each have a slanted section with a fixed glass area with a gap. It repels water but also lets air pass through. This pattern is echoed throughout the house, meaning it’s never really hot inside. It also adds visual texture as well.

One of the challenges usually encountered in designing homes is the discipline of the client to stay true to the architect’s concept long after you’ve turned the project over. Were they in total sync with you with how minimalist you wanted this to be?

I’m sure the home has a slightly different condition now than when it was turned over, there could be some personal items added. But during the construction stage, they really gave me full freedom. They would tell me immediately whenever they didn’t feel comfortable about a material I planned to use. It’s also very important to work with the right contractor, and it just so happened that the one we got was an architect as well. Everything really worked out.

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