Sunday, May 30, 2010

Straits Times: Living on water

May 29, 2010
home & garden
Living on water
Close to 30 architectural projects in Singapore and overseas by local firms were winners at last week's 10th Singapore Institute of Architects Architectural Design Awards. The awards are the profession's highest recognition of works that show excellence in architectural design. TAY SUAN CHIANG highlights three of them

(Residential Projects category)
Where: Off Holland Road, Singapore
By: Wallflower Architecture and Design

Living rooms are usually located on the first floor of a house, but not in this bungalow off Holland Road.

The 6,000 sq ft home, belonging to a doctor and her family, has its living room on the second floor.

Its designer, Mr Cecil Chee of Wallflower Architecture and Design, says this was done so that the home owner could fully enjoy unblocked views of the lush vegetation surrounding the estate.

The $2.6-million home, which sits on 15,000 sq ft of land, took 14 months to construct. It won an award in the Residential Projects category.

The living room, which has a teak roof, sits in the middle of a 38m by 10m pond.

'The owner wanted her home to be cool so I surrounded the living room with water,' says Mr Chee.

The 40cm-deep pond also helps to cool the bedrooms and family spaces underneath it, which are on the first level of the home.

Mr Chee designed the roof of the living room with deep overhangs. 'Rain cannot enter and there is little sunlight that enters directly into the living room,' he says.

The living room has frameless full-height glass sliding doors, which are closed on hot days when the air- conditioner is needed.

The first thing that visitors see on entering the home is a spiral staircase that leads to the living room and pond upstairs.

Behind the staircase is the dining area, followed by three bedrooms.

Mr Chee added a linear 30m by 2m koi pond that runs parallel to the bedrooms. 'The koi pond helps to cool the internal spaces,' he says.

A similarly long airwell above the pond allows light and rain to enter the home, as well as increases ventilation into the bedrooms, which also look out into the garden.

The kitchen and the home's service areas are hidden away in a separate part of the house. 'This makes the home seem visually devoid of back-of-house areas,' says Mr Chee.

He adds that building the pond was the biggest challenge of this project - the engineering team had to make sure that it was level for it to be structurally safe.

'The weight of the water is evenly distributed so there's no worry about safety,' adds Mr Chee.

He deliberately kept the design and layout of the home simple, 'so that the spaciousness of the home could be felt'.

Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
93833992/ 98444400

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