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Centuries of Balcony Supremacy

The balcony is a mixture between public and private, inside and outside. An ambiguous element of architecture; connected yet detached, aloof but highly visible. It was initially an 11th-century anti-siege device, called the hourd, a clip-on military accessory made of wood. The hourd boosts exposure to the exterior, balancing safety and engagement with the world below.

Later on, this concept was adopted by various shapes of balconies in a diverse era. One of them was the strong correlation it creates to power projection for the royalty and aristocrats in Europe where they wave and greet the public, seen yet untouched. It also took part in some famous literature such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, where the balcony in La Casa di Giulietta, Verona, remains as a touristy icon until today.

Medical theories associated access to a balcony with new standards of health and hygiene in the late 19th century. In Thomas Mann's 1924 novel, Magic Mountain, written that alpine sanitariums practice 'the open-air method' where patients with tuberculosis take to their deck chairs, arranged outside on balconies. This method was later stated as the only successful medical treatment for tuberculosis and created a large impact in medical institutions architecturally and public discourse on the importance of access to the outdoors.

This situation sure feels familiar as this zine was published during the global pandemic era of the 21st century, where we were encouraged to keep our distance from each other, stay at home, and sunbathe often. A similar problem-solving technique makes the balcony an essential element in a building - not only for public buildings but also for your private home.

All purposes of a balcony have modernly applied to most of our projects. MDG House and TR House, to name a few, have an iconic placement for their balcony. It was all created to enhance the connection between the outside and the inside, creating strong visual engagement with its surroundings while keeping their privacy, and providing space for various activities for the whole family.

To find out more about MDG House and TR House, click on the 'Project' menu.


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