Ask any kid with a healthy appetite for animation, and they'll tell you that the world would be a much more interesting place if it were more like a cartoon. Thai architecture firm, Onion understands the appeal of a topsy-turvy, madcap landscape to children, and they designed their "Jerry Home" as an homage to the antics of the 1940's classic Tom and Jerry cartoons. Created as a vacation home for a married couple who wanted a place for their four children to play, the space encourages physical activity and familial interaction.
The Jerry House in Cha Am Beach resembles a gigantic playground, complete with curved passageways reminiscent of mouse-holes, a series of staircases, ramps, and tunnels that lead to different levels of the house.
“If the house of Jerry the mouse were built, it might appear as a big piece of cheese in which the möbius strip would be a desirable route for him to run away from Tom the cat. Thus, the dwelling is thought of as the object that children would yearn for and that increases the meaning of having a holiday for the parents,” explain Arisara Chaktranon and Siriyot Chaiamnuay from Onion architects.
A set of five nets create transverse planes across a three-story-high main hall. Each piece of webbing features a hole that is offset from the entrance at the next level. This arrangement encourages movement as well as keeps kids safe in the event they were to tumble through one level down to another. Metal ladders provide access to bedrooms, and mirrored films attached to the ceiling foster an Escher-like feeling of floating. Locked and closed doors can still be entered through small holes by the children that adults cannot wiggle into.
While most of the common spaces are painted a stark white, the bedrooms each boast a different color. The blue, green and purple hues let the children affiliate with the individual spaces as distinct environments, and add some warmth to the otherwise sterile, modernist aesthetic of the house.
Although adults may have commissioned and built the Jerry House, the layout is clearly meant to maximize enjoyment for the children. Like Jerry the plucky mouse, the kids are small enough to fit into the tunnels, escapes, and refuges to avoid their parents. The building encourages an epic game of cat-and-mouse, letting the little ones run the show. Instead of sitting in front of a television set and simply watching episodes of old cartoons, the Jerry House encourages the kids to reenact the antics of the their favorite characters.