Sunday, May 30, 2010

Straits Times: A treehouse for the kids

May 29, 2010 
home & garden
A treehouse for the kids 

38 HOLLAND PARK 
(Residential Projects category) 
Where: Off Holland Road, Singapore 
By: Zarch Collaboratives 

This 6,500 sq ft two-storey bungalow off Holland Road is part of a collection of six villas called the Lien Collective. 

Six architects were hired to build six homes on plots subdivided from the garden of the Lien family's colonial bungalow. Each home sits on 15,000 sq ft of land. The land belonged to the late pioneer banker and philanthropist Lien Ying Chow.

The brief to the architects, who were selected through a series of interviews, was to create a home with four bedrooms, a pool, and a wet and dry kitchen. These homes will be leased out.

Local architectural firms K2LD, Zarch Collaboratives, Ministry of Design, Metropolitan Office Experimental and Tierra each built a new home. 

The last firm, Terre, was hired to restore the colonial bungalow and to build a new extension to it. This bungalow will be used as a clubhouse for the compound.

The home by Zarch Collaboratives was a winner at this year's SIA Architectural Design Awards. Architect Randy Chan's design was to have a series of 'floating boxes' that surround a central courtyard.

'The courtyard is the focus of the home and most of the rooms in the house look into it,' he says.

The Zen-like courtyard is filled with gravel and in the centre is a piece of artwork designed by Mr Chan.

On one side of the first floor is the living room and a guest room. Opposite it are the kitchen and dining room, which look out to the courtyard on one side and to the compound's greenery on the other.

While each villa has its own entrances, the homes are not gated. A path connects all the homes and leads to the clubhouse.

'The villas have a different look each but we had to work together to ensure that each home still had privacy and ideal views,' says Mr Chan. For example, they had to ensure that the back-service areas would not look into the neighbour's living room.

On the second floor are three bedrooms, each housed in a box. They all have a different look 'to give the user a different experience', says Mr Chan.

One bedroom has concrete walls, dark timber flooring and a black sliding door. He designed it to be spartan as he wanted the area to be a tranquil and contemplative space. The other two bedrooms have white walls and a more airy feel.

His treehouse for children is also in the shape of a box. But rather than cover it up with solid walls, it has an open look, with steel poles to simulate branches.

The houses are built of concrete, glass, steel and timber. 'I think of them as a montage of different materials that were put together in a strange way, but somehow work,' says Mr Chan.


Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
93833992/ 98444400
www.marshe.net
www.smart-home.webs.com

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