House 24 (2016) by Park + Associates located in Singapore | The Hardt
House 24 (2016) by Park + Associates located in Singapore. In a usual circumstance, the front of the house is the most important – not in our case. House 24 is sited on a triangular plot, a constraint that we took on as an opportunity to really engage with the siting and planning of the house – to achieve a meaningful footprint that actualized the client’s spatial, functional, and privacy requirement. Moreover, the site adjoins a lushly landscaped state land that we endeavored to take advantage of at every available opportunity and every habitable space. As such, we turned the house away from the main road and neighboring houses, and instead, have the living spaces open out to the mature greenery beyond. The result is amassing comprising of two blocks which, when combined, define a V-shaped patio on the first floor that becomes the focal point of common activities and entertainment, borrowing views from the surrounding greenery.
The courtyard screen fronting the street is an exercise in rethinking the conventional entry sequence of residential dwellings, and an exploration in creating a more layered and sequential experience. It is experienced almost as a ritual space – serene and tranquil – marking the transition between the public and private. It was also an opportunity to explore what timber craftsmanship might mean in contemporary architecture, and we envisioned the screen to be a well-crafted element with a modern aesthetic and detailing. It eventually manifested itself as a refined and rhythmic facade, drawing attention to its delicate scale even as a structure that is over 8m high. A delightful pattern of light and shadow play out over the course of each day whilst allowing sunlight to filter in and natural air to stream in, creating a relaxing ambiance that reinforces the client’s desire to live in a home that reflected its tropical locality.
17BR-House by ONG&ONG located in Singapore | The Hardt
17BR-House by ONG&ONG located in Singapore. The 17BR-House is a Peranakan shophouse originally built between 1900 and 1940. The homeowners wanted to build a warm family home that would preserve the shophouse’s historical character and reverse the drastic alterations done during its previous incarnation as an office space. In reinstating 17BR-House as a residence, an inner courtyard was created on the first floor, allowing sunlight and air to flow freely into and throughout the house. The installation of a green wall, as well as the covering of the floor entirely in carpet grass, transforms the courtyard into a quaint indoor garden. This space forms the visual focus for the first floor; with the absence of partition walls, there is a seamless visual transition from the kitchen at the back of the building to the living area at the front, allowing the family-oriented homeowner to interact with his children while indulging in culinary exploits in the kitchen.
A dramatic spiral staircase spanning all three levels maximizes vertical circulation while skylights in the jack roof directly above the staircase provide natural illumination. Timber beams installed in the ceiling of the first floor and the roof adds an old world charm to the home. The second floor holds two bedrooms; both share a bathroom, a long corridor lined with bookshelves and storage space, as well as equally enjoyable views, one of the traditional façade and the other of the green wall in the courtyard. The top floor houses the master bedroom and a separate bathroom visually connected to the bedroom via a long slab of limestone that serves as the top counter of the bathroom’s vanity and continues onward into the corridor, forming a functional desk area amidst a bookshelf-lined wall. The skylight in the master bathroom illuminates both the bathroom and the balcony on the second floor with natural daylight.
The shophouse’s rear comprises a kitchen, the service quarters as well as a 23 foot (7-meter) long swimming pool, with traditional glazed floor tiles and a replica spiral staircase at the back reminiscent of the shophouse’s early days. The façade’s restoration, with the reversion to a single point Pagar door, the reinstatement of the traditional, taller windows on the second floor, and the use of shiny enamel-finished dado tiles, completes the project that goes beyond the creation of a perfect, modern family home to a preservation of an invaluable cultural heritage. The shophouse had been in a bad state, having been stripped of its historical characteristics and renovated for office use. With much support from the client, the architects made a conscious effort to bring these traditional elements back while also reinstating the shophouse to residential use. Considering the scale of the restorative work required the final product is both a perfect home for the modern family as well as a fitting tribute to the shophouse’s history.
Photography by Aaron Pocock
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Located in Singapore, The Niven Road Studio by Wow Architects | The Hardt
Located in Singapore, The Niven Road Studio by Wow Architects. The Niven Road Studio is a historic secondary settlement conservation site where the existing 2 story building is conserved with a tall rear extension comprising a Basement, Three Stories, and an Attic. The tall rear extension provides a new back entrance at the hilltop while the main entrance remains on the fully preserved front façade facing the heritage street at ground level. The conservation strategy of juxtaposing old and new develops the project into a 21st-century heritage building. Designed for minimum visual impact from the heritage street, the rear extension comprises three levels of double height space screened from the East and West sun by deep vertical fins. Today, Niven Road’s memorable days are a nearly forgotten reality as its public institutions have moved away, been demolished or closed down over the past decades. Yet hope is not lost as with change come opportunities for a community to evolve.
CASA-FABER (2014) by ONG & ONG Pte Ltd located in Singapore.
CASA-FABER (2014) by ONG & ONG Pte located in Singapore. Reclining within an exclusive node in western Singapore, CASA-FABER looks perfectly suited to its luxurious surroundings: at home, among the quaint bungalows of this cozy enclave. This personalized residence was designed to meet the specific needs of the client, where his two main considerations were family and friends. Working on a land of considerable size, the design team chose to realign the new house on one side of the site. This decision optimized the use of space, with the new design that allows the inclusion of a garden and a training pool. The architects approached this project with an underlying design spirit that was subtle but distinctive, where flowing lines and careful selection of material culminate in an elegant design with undeniably bold touches. CASA-FABER presents two rectangular volumes stacked one on top of the other, forming the core of the residence. A façade of sand-colored wood panels lines the entrance hall, separating the stone-lined driveway from the training pool and the outer deck just behind. Made of zirconium wood, the façade in the entrance hall presents for the first time the wood motif that manifests itself throughout CASA-FABER.
The entrance hall recedes to reveal the spectacular living room. Trying to erase the boundary between the interior and exterior spaces, the architects designed a system of retractable glass windows that could slide and fold with great ease, providing versatility to the space. The living room easily changes from the outdoors to the enclosed glass, as the interior falls effortlessly to the outside, which gives CASA-FABER an extraordinary visual flow. The garden spaces that join the outer edges of the CASA-FABER house bleed into the cool pool of blue and attractive tiles, covered with wood, creating a surprising juxtaposition of colors and textures. The familiar wooden motif of the entrance is repeated, framing a panel that hides a work of art of good taste: delimiting the spacious living room of the adjoining kitchen area. The deployment of these panels reveals the true dream of a chef. The elegant and dark stone and tile finishes work to animate the space, where a striking kitchen island dominates the room. The high-end kitchen facilities are elegantly arranged since space was conceived as a culinary laboratory where the resident chef of the family can turn all kinds of gastronomic fantasy into an appetizing reality. A spectacular sculptural staircase occupies the double volume space, which connects the different levels of CASA-FABER. Manufactured from a bent black sheet, The staircase is used to separate the common areas of the basement and the ground floor of the private rooms on the upper level. As the guests head to the entertainment area of the cavernous basement, leaving the upper floor strictly for the family.
The foot of the black and geometric staircase lands in the basement of CASA-FABER, where sheet metal, textured concrete, strips of wood and rough gravel provide a lot of character to the underground space. An ingenious Zen-inspired rock garden accentuates the landing area, accentuated by natural light filtering in from the complex window that lines the top staircase. The basement comes fully loaded with a state-of-the-art entertainment system. With a professional quality winery, as well as a 3.6 m2 reinforced concrete shelter reinforced with 300 mm thick concrete, the subterranean lair emanates a majestic sense of contemporary avant-garde. A neon pink sign adorns the central dark stone wall, with the wise inscription that recalls all that, “Happiness is expensive.” Crossing the upper floor, the rooms above are best described as luxurious and spacious. Both junior suites have an en-suite bathroom and a dressing room, while the master bedroom was designed to evoke an open feeling. The large floor-to-ceiling windows are a prominent feature of the master bedroom that offers a panoramic view surrounding the neighborhood. Abundant natural light and cross ventilation permeate the space, as the skylights carefully located in the master bathroom and dressing room incorporate the bedroom spaces with a bright and airy feel.
The green spaces in the shower and toilet in the master bathroom not only provide an organic touch but also serve as natural air wells that mitigate internal circulation. The final feature, and perhaps the most striking one, found in the CASA-FABER residence is the perforated metal mesh screen that covers the second floor. Giving the property a high sense of privacy, the aluminum screen hides the housing of neighboring houses nearby. With the unmistakable silhouette of a lush wooded forest, the screen not only acts as a shield against the heat and glare of the sun but also presents a tantalizing interplay of light and shade throughout the day.
Located in Singapore, Secret Garden House (2015) by Wallflower Architecture + Design. The Secret Garden House, designed by Singapore based Wallflower Architecture + Design, is situated in the good class bungalow area of Bukit Timah. The owner’s brief was to have a luxurious, tropical, contemporary family home. Being the owners of a construction company and by building it themselves, it would also showcase their professional capabilities.
The house sits on an L-shaped site with a narrow and unassuming frontage; On all sides, it is surrounded by neighboring homes. Further, in and on a slight rise, the bulk of the land is not visible from the entrance. Most local home buyers would regard the uneven terrain, narrow frontage and lack of prominence as a disadvantage. The architect saw an opportunity in using the terrain to camouflage the bulk of a large house, and the lushness of a secret garden to screen it from prying eyes.
As the spatial and functional requirements were substantial, the architect positioned over a third of the house into the rising land profile, effectively hiding this mass by leveraging on the unique site. The perceived ground floor was set one level above. It allowed for greater privacy from the entrance road and a ‘plateau’-like terrace to compose the rest of the living spaces and gardens.
Visitors are welcomed into the house via a granite cave entrance leading to an ‘underground’ lobby. The prominence of a steel and glass spiral staircase leads visitors up to the living room. The owners had liked the idea of detaching the living and dining spaces and surrounding these by pools and gardens. This ‘plateau’ ground level was planned to be a space that blended indoor and outdoor, soft-scape and hard-scape. It was to be one-space, with several programs, rather than many spaces with determined boundaries and fixed functions. Trees planted heavily around the perimeter form a very private enclosure. Visually secure from outside, the ground plain architecture could then be open and transparent without the owner’s privacy being compromised.
Conceptually, the above ground architectural composition is of two rectangular travertine blocks sitting on slender pilotis. The blocks are connected at the second floor by an enclosed bridge floated above the ground plane. A ribbon window cuts around the travertine stone façade. Adjustable vertical timber louvers lined strategically along this band of windows shield the glazing and regulate how much sunlight reaches the interior, as well as ensuring privacy when required.
An outdoor living deck and roof garden tops-off the composition, and is usefully spacious enough for social gatherings and parties. The deck’s facing is angled to enjoy views of scenic Bukit Timah Hill, the highest point in Singapore. Basic architectural principles of orientation, thermal mass, sun-screening and natural ventilation are fundamental to the design. It is a house designed for the tropics, expressed by modern materials and contemporary aesthetics. Every floor is designed to be cross-ventilated. Primary to the design ethos is that breezes are to be encouraged and unhindered. In the basement, air flows through the large cave-like garage opening, through the timber slatted lobby and exits via a sizable sunken garden courtyard at the rear that is open to the sky. Above ground, the lifted bedroom blocks are kept passively cool by layers of masonry, air cavities, travertine stone cladding, roof gardens, and pergolas. Windows cut heat entry via low-emission glass and timber sunscreens filter the strong tropical sunlight, and transform it into a pattern of light and shadows that play into the interior spaces. Skylights further animate the experience in the course of the day through ever-shifting shafts of light. When the situation necessitates, the entire home can be closed off to tropical rainstorms or the haze from pollutive burning.
The environment engifts you when there are respect and collaboration with both its strengths and weaknesses. In spite of being on an intensely urbanized island with one of the highest population densities in the world, the house recaptures what it is to privately enjoy living in the tropics, with its lushness, vibrancy, and beauty ensconced in a secret garden.
Situated in Singapore, KAP-House (2016) by ONG&ONG Pte Ltd. | The Hardt
Situated in Singapore, KAP-House (2016) by ONG&ONG Pte Ltd. Reclined within a well-heeled residential enclave, KAP-House sits behind wild grassland that grows from the remains of the old Malayan Railway. Placed on a plot that was once the sprawling garden of a classic colonial black and white bungalow, the home was imagined as a paradigm of modern tropical living. The defunct railway, now a preserved green corridor, provides a backdrop of natural tropical terrain. Seeking to capitalize on the beauty of the home’s splendid surroundings, the design team adopted the Japanese design principle of Shakkei or borrowed view. Their intention was to create a home resplendent in the “likeness of nature, capturing nature alive to create a spectacular vision”.
Fully attuned to the environment, KAP-House is predicated on capturing its marvelous natural milieu, as the architects carefully aligned the home to emphasize borrowed views of the green corridor. Elemental considerations were prioritized as the design team accounted for factors such as wind direction and solar positioning, introducing a sustainable design framework that allowed the implementation of passive environmental controls within the house’s program.
Simplicity reigns as clean lines and bold structural elements manifest into an elegant design. Architects deployed a programmatic approach when conceptualizing the home. KAP-House features a series of rectilinear volumes placed in interlocking juxtapositions. Individual volumes were conceived in accordance with how their space would be utilized. Underscored in KAP-House’s overall design was the optimization of the borrowed view, as the architects tried to ensure that spaces within the house would benefit from the surrounding natural splendor. A holistic approach was employed in order to achieve intrinsic integration between architecture, interior design, and landscaping. Further accentuating the overall design is a meticulously curated material palette – reflected in the stone and timber facades, placid blue pools and waterways, and lush gardens greenery, which bestow KAP-House undeniable aesthetic quality.
The home includes four bedrooms together with an additional guest room. The front section of KAP-House that contains the guest room was imagined as a semi-private transition space, where a myriad of colors and textures greets the eye at the home’s spacious driveway entrance. An L-shaped slab of textured reinforced concrete frames a façade of gray zircon wood strips, neatly stacked atop a lower plane of champagne limestone cladding, which stretches into KAP-House’s manicured garden. The entrance foyer leading to the shared common space reveals a system of fully retractable floor-to-ceiling glass windows encasing the living and dining areas. The windows, together with the timber screens found on the upper floor, provide natural cross-ventilation and overall versatility to KAP-House. The Architects’ intention was to allow the greenery of the garden exterior and the borrowed view of the rail corridor beyond to traverse into the refined spaces of the home’s interior.
Private spaces within KAP-House reside within the upper-most volume that holds the bedrooms, as well as the subterranean space that conceals the multimedia room. The gray zircon wood façade from the house entrance extends along the length of the home, forming a system of timber screens that veils the upper-level spaces, while the subterranean zones are distinguished by robust tobacco-colored Cohiba stone. Lending character and a supremely natural feel to KAP-House, planted plots of green space are strategically placed to further emphasize the naturalistic motif established within the property. The upstairs family room opens to an elevated garden belvedere, reconnecting the private zones with the exterior green spaces. The private spaces are characterized by treated wood and white stone, where passive environmental controls come in the form of screens and overhangs.
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