House with Shadows | Singapore 2016
Re-thinking the abstract ‘primitive hut’ for multi-generational living in the tropics
Nestled within a quiet housing enclave in central west Singapore, the project is a 2-storey detached dwelling perched on higher ground plane from the adjacent access road. It was designed for a multi-generational Asian family (comprising of elder grandparents, their adult daughter and her immediate family of husband and 3 children), living together under one roof. A basement garage, swimming pool, 2 other main breakout garden spaces, roof terraces and a pool pavilion are some of the features in this residential dwelling.
The parti is conceived with three major blocks – two private ones (one for elder parents and another for their daughter’s family) and one for the public realm. They are laid on site in an asymmetrical ’T’ layout – where the public block forms the main spine on site of which both wings then branch out. The negative spaces bounded by these blocks, naturally formed different courtyard environments, where key features (e.g. swimming pool or garden) were inserted.
Intended to foster domestic imagery, a barn-shape form with minimal fenestration, sits on a recessed transparent base. It contains the private bedrooms, whilst the vast openness of the ground plane permeates through the 1st floor via clear glass windows and doors.
In juggling with aesthetic expectations of different stakeholders, natural materials of opposite characters (loosely representing each stakeholder) were used as cladding for the major blocks. The adjacent pairing of raw fair-faced concrete and finished timber planks results in a dialogue of ‘completeness’ versus ‘incompleteness’. Different timber screens were employed in the design, primarily for sun-shading and to give tactile quality to the house. The result of this application became a study on how light behaves in and on the house.