House With A Log­gia

RT+Q turns a Clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ment into a use­ful, de­light­ful cen­ter­piece

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Vic­tor Chen

It takes more than a bold at­ti­tude to trans­plant an ar­chi­tec­tural con­cept – par­tic­u­larly one that is for­eign and his­tor­i­cal – to lo­cal con­text. There is the nec­es­sary un­der­stand­ing of de­sign ge­n­e­sis, a sus­tained ex­po­sure to con­text, and the tech­ni­cal abil­ity to trans­port even just a small el­e­ment and make it work.

Trust lo­cal ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice RT+Q to ac­com­plish this feat with panache. The firm’s body of work has con­tin­u­ously drawn les­sons from the great spa­ces of the past. As an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at Syra­cuse Univer­sity, its prin­ci­pal Mr. Rene Tan did re­search on clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture, with a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in Pal­la­dio. This year, Mr. Tan also led a Pal­la­dio op­tion stu­dio at the Sin­ga­pore Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and De­sign (SUTD).

In this par­tic­u­lar res­i­den­tial pro­ject, RT+Q suc­cess­fully in­cor­po­rated a Pal­la­dian log­gia and turned it into a highly func­tion­ing space. The pro­ject is lo­cated in the pop­u­lar res­i­den­tial en­clave of Seran­goon Gar­dens, a two-storey semi-de­tached unit with a base­ment and an at­tic. It is a multi-gen­er­a­tional res­i­dence built for a Sin­ga­porean fam­ily, their par­ent and three school-go­ing chil­dren.

The client wanted a home that could com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­date the all mem­bers of the fam­ily and their needs, with a room built for mah-jong, and a large kitchen from which the wife, a keen cook, could dish out sump­tu­ous meals for the fam­ily and vis­it­ing friends.

The de­sign, a straight­for­ward re­sponse to URA’s en­ve­lope con­trol re­quire­ments, frames both the first and sec­ond storeys with a tim­ber-clad por­tal – a mod­ern take on the log­gias by the 16th cen­tury Vene­tian ar­chi­tect, An­dre Pal­la­dio, as seen in some of his best known projects such as Villa Ro­tunda and Villa Emo. Its ad­di­tion in this pro­ject si­mul­ta­ne­ously gives the house a dis­tinc­tive street pres­ence as well as pro­vides much needed shel­ter from the rain and the af­ter­noon sun.

One of the client’s ini­tial re­quests was for a dou­ble vol­ume space, and for the first floor to be bright and airy. Thus, the log­gia si­mul­ta­ne­ously cre­ates the dra­matic space while al­low­ing the doors and win­dows within to be kept open for con­stant ven­ti­la­tion.

The up­dated log­gia is a ‘quo­ta­tion’ of the great spa­ces in houses of the past, es­pe­cially those of the High Re­nais­sance. First de­vel­oped in the pre­dom­i­nantly agri­cul­tural re­gion of Veneto in Italy, the Pal­la­dian log­gia was a use­ful space where the oc­cu­pants could sit and

sur­vey their lands and flock. Trans­ported to mod­ern-day Sin­ga­pore, the log­gia cre­ates a shel­tered space from which the house’s oc­cu­pants can en­joy the trop­i­cal out­doors.

In this pro­ject, the log­gia is de­fined by a dis­tinc­tive tim­ber cladded dou­ble-height por­tal, which frames the house. It leads to a tim­ber deck and wa­ter fea­ture where the clients’ chil­dren can play out­doors.

In or­der to draw light and air into the base­ment, the main liv­ing spa­ces were pulled away from the party wall, cre­at­ing a four-storey-high atrium that fills usu­ally dark, air­less in­ter­nal cor­ri­dors with light, and more im­por­tantly, draws air through­out the length of the house when­ever the op­er­a­ble sky­light is open.

Glass and steel boxes punc­ture the void of the atrium, where one could play peek-a-boo across all lev­els of the house, and pro­vide break­out spa­ces within dif­fer­ent rooms.

The cir­cu­la­tion plan for the house is straight­for­ward – shared spa­ces are lo­cated in the base­ment and first storey. The lift and spi­ral stair­case are lo­cated at the rear end of the air­well. The dry kitchen and liv­ing room are at the front and lead di­rectly off from the lift/ stair­case. On the up­per floors, a cor­ri­dor con­nect­ing the bed­rooms sim­i­larly runs along­side the air­well.

The suc­cess of the de­sign con­cept is ev­i­dent in the way that the clients use the space. There are enough spa­ces for pri­vate mo­ments as well as for be­ing with each other, for com­ing to­gether as fam­ily as well as for en­ter­tain­ing guests. And at the cen­ter of all these is the log­gia.

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