Con­crete Plans


Singapore Tatler Homes - - OCT/NOV 2018 -

This multi-gen­er­a­tional home is a skil­ful blend of ar­chi­tec­tural ex­pres­sion and func­tional style

The home­owner and his fam­ily have been liv­ing in this prop­erty for many years, but a grow­ing brood of grand­chil­dren prompted him to em­bark on a re­de­vel­op­ment project. His brief to ar­chi­tect Chan Loo Siang, de­sign prin­ci­pal of Inte Ar­chi­tects, was sim­ple: to build a multi-gen­er­a­tion home that would cater to the needs of the fam­ily. “Ar­chi­tec­ture is do­ing, not see­ing; mak­ing, not im­press­ing,” shares Chan, as he ex­plains his de­sign phi­los­o­phy. With that in mind, he sought to de­sign a house that is a thought­ful blend of mod­ern de­sign and prac­ti­cal style.


The ar­chi­tec­tural mass­ing com­prises two clearly leg­i­ble or­thog­o­nal vol­umes con­nected by a link bridge over­look­ing the pool. “They are like two con­crete boxes that are pulled apart on the sides, yet con­nected at the same time,” Chan de­scribes. “The client wanted a size­able pool and deck in be­tween the two blocks, so we pushed them to­wards the front and rear of the plot re­spec­tively.”

The ex­ter­nal fa­cades are fin­ished in con­crete, a ma­te­rial that Chan chose for its sense of per­ma­nence and so­lid­ity. He was in­spired by the works of Bel­gian ar­chi­tect Ju­li­aan Lam­p­ens, which fea­ture the ex­ten­sive use of off-form con­crete that ex­presses a sense of ro­bust scale, but in a fluid, mal­leable way. “I love that the off-form con­crete ap­pears bru­tal, yet soft­ens un­der nat­u­ral light­ing,” says the ar­chi­tect. Two types of con­crete fin­ishes were used: off-form tim­ber tex­tured con­crete for the block up front and fair-faced con­crete for the rear block. This dis­tinc­tion re­flects the sym­bolic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two blocks. “The rear block is like an off­spring, which is in­de­pen­dent yet re­mains at­tached to the par­ent,” ex­plains Chan. There is also an ar­chi­tec­tural di­a­logue be­tween the dark grey tim­ber-tex­tured con­crete which con­veys a more rus­tic look, ver­sus the light grey con­crete that has a more Ja­panese touch to it. A con­crete box hous­ing the fam­ily room ex­tends above the car porch. The jux­ta­po­si­tion of the heavy ma­te­rial with a can­tilevered struc­ture presents an in­ter­est­ing con­trast that lends com­plex­ity to an un­der­stated ex­pres­sion.


The house sits on a slope and the road level at the main en­trance is ap­prox­i­mately 4.5 me­tres higher than the deck to­wards the rear. It fea­tures a dis­creet main en­trance lead­ing from the car porch, which com­ple­ments the un­der­stated ex­te­rior of the house. The en­trance foyer is on the mez­za­nine, which hov­ers be­tween the pool deck and the main liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas at the ground floor and the be­d­rooms and fam­ily room on the sec­ond storey. The lift lobby at the foyer is next to a flight of stairs that lead to the mas­ter bed­room. A horse­shoe-shaped

The ex­ten­sive use of off-form con­crete was in­spired by the works of Bel­gian ar­chi­tect Ju­li­aan Lam­p­ens

bridge above the en­trance foyer sug­gests a flu­id­ity of move­ment that per­me­ates the en­tire home, link­ing the in­ter­nal spa­ces in a con­tin­u­ous loop. “When de­sign­ing the cir­cu­la­tion, I drew in­spi­ra­tion from the way Brazil­ian ar­chi­tect Lina Bo Bardi man­aged to or­ches­trate move­ment in her glass house project, Casa de Vidro,” Chan shares. To cre­ate this sense of move­ment, a se­ries of cor­ri­dors, decks, link bridges and plat­forms in­crease the con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween its in­te­rior spa­ces. Open­ings on the fa­cades re­in­force the vis­ual con­nec­tion, while en­hanc­ing nat­u­ral cross-ven­ti­la­tion with their north-south ori­en­ta­tion. Ver­ti­cally, the con­nec­tion is es­tab­lished through stair­cases, lifts and sky­lights.


The com­plex­ity of the criss­cross­ing spa­ces, vol­umes and cir­cu­la­tion re­quired much at­ten­tion. Chan con­cep­tu­alised and re­solved those us­ing mod­els, work­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously on the plan, sec­tion and three-di­men­sional as­pects. “The oc­cu­pants can move seam­lessly through­out the home and there are no dead cor­ners. Ev­ery space and room is well­con­nected to the rest of the house, even in the base­ment,” shares the ar­chi­tect. To op­ti­mise the land area, a base­ment, which ex­tends across both blocks was ex­ca­vated to house the en­ter­tain­ment room, gym, dance stu­dio and ser­vice ar­eas, as well as a guest room. “The home­owner had orig­i­nally wanted a base­ment car park, but due to site con­straints, we were un­able to ac­com­mo­date

“When de­sign­ing the cir­cu­la­tion, I drew in­spi­ra­tion from the way Brazil­ian ar­chi­tect Lina Bo Bardi man­aged to or­ches­trate move­ment in her glass house project, Casa de Vidro”

the length and turn­ing ra­dius of the ramp that was re­quired,” Chan ex­plains. True to the cir­cu­la­tion con­cept that Chan de­vised, the base­ment re­mains well-con­nected to the rest of the house by in­cor­po­rat­ing nat­u­ral light, nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion and green­ery into the subter­ranean level. The project was not with­out its chal­lenges. Even with a size­able land area, ad­dress­ing the needs of a large ex­tended fam­ily can be tricky. Rec­on­cil­ing the cir­cu­la­tion with the var­i­ous lev­els and spa­ces was also no mean feat. Nei­ther was work­ing with a ma­te­rial such as con­crete, which en­tailed metic­u­lous plan­ning prior to cast­ing. De­vis­ing in­ge­nious de­sign so­lu­tions that com­ply with reg­u­la­tions in terms of plan­ning and en­ve­lope con­trol, es­pe­cially on a plot with a slop­ing to­pog­ra­phy, with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the ar­chi­tec­tural in­tent also took much de­sign for­ti­tude. But in over­com­ing these chal­lenges, the scheme be­comes more ro­bust, much like the ma­te­rial with which the home is built with and the ties that bind the fam­ily.


LEFT TO RIGHTFull-length win­dows fill the house with nat­u­ral day­light, and the liv­ing area dec­o­rated with the owner’s favourite Poltrona Frau fur­ni­ture and pen­dant lights from Moooi; a link bridge con­nects the two con­crete blocks

THIS PAGEEquipped with a Lazy Su­san, the din­ing ta­ble by the pool­side caters to the fam­ily’s large gath­er­ingsOP­PO­SITE PAGEThe liv­ing area is styled with B&B Italia table­ware, Ser­ralunga Cup planter and Kartell Kabuki lamp, all from Space Fur­ni­ture

LEFT TO RIGHTThe per­fo­rated screens at the link bridge play with light and shadow; a curved bridge that floats above the liv­ing area; the mu­sic room, which over­looks the car porch has be­come the owner’s per­sonal lounge

THIS PAGEThe be­d­rooms fea­ture a calm­ing neu­tral pal­ette; mul­ti­ple sets of stair­cases in­crease the con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the floors

OP­PO­SITE PAGEA curved stair­way be­side the mu­sic room leads to the be­d­rooms on the third floor

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