Architect: Formwerkz Architects
Design Team: Seetoh K.L, Alan Tay, Gwen Tan, Berlin Lee, JY Pang, XuanYi, EkaChai
Completion: March 2009
Site Area: 1190 square meters
Gross Floor Area: 1000 square meters
location: Seletar Estate, Singapore
Family and lifestyle patterns have changed throughout times, however sometimes it’s good to keep traditional patterns in modern lifestyles. Singaporean practice Formwerkz Architects has completed such a contemporary house in Seletar Estate, Singapore where the idea of cluster living “apartments” with open communal spaces was devised for the multi-generation families living under one roof. While paying close attention to the needs of the end user and constructing a residence from the primary state, Formwerks focused on the requests of each person on an individual basis as well as their function as a group or a whole.
The primary question upon designing and building this residence is can architecture deal with the differences in behavior, lifestyles, needs or even the potential tension between individuals or sub-families when these individuals are to live in one residence? The answer is yes! The rest is up to the occupants who have to cooperate on a daily basis to co-exist in harmony! The areas were defined into working spaces, fun spaces, personal spaces and engaging spaces; they were attached together with each family’s needs which were carefully studied and planned with the required privacies. The choice in materials and architectural language has been vigilantly expressed by the hierarchy of spaces and family cells. To embrace the individuals’ differences and desires, material palettes were restrained to the most basic form of construction elements. The basis of selections was simplified to natural colors and textures rather than subjective decorative merits. Formwerks Architects believes that dwelling spaces are organic; therefore, most elements were designed to be easily de-mountable and replaceable. This strategy allows room for future growth, since they started bare and simple.
With the above limitation and restrictions the house has been designed and developed in a form of building blocks which separates the functions of the house into three storey’s and sections. The construction materials used were concrete, metal, glass, and wood; the diffusion of these materials along with the complimentary elements of water from the pools and the surrounding plants makes the appearance of the house warm and welcoming. Despite the concrete construction many influences from the eastern culture have been used in a unique way throughout the residence. Such inspirations are the koi pond, the shoji-like wooden shading devices, as well as some interior design finishes which make reference to shanghai bars.
The way that the house has been divided and designed around the pool in the ground floor seems as if the house is floating and the base starts from the first floor and onwards with the solid concrete construction. Furthermore, a vertical garden sets the boundaries of the house with the exterior world by creating a sense of privacy.
As with every house, the communal areas are the most significant and were designed to be equally important to the rest of the residence. Nonetheless, the private spaces of the individuals have been designed by holding strong into their individualism while the spaces they share create a sense of unity. The swimming pool occupies as well as divides the two main blocks of the house creating a form of physical detachment while also creating a form of unity for the family as all the members enjoy swimming equally. Wanting to bring the unity of the family to a new level Formwerkz designed all the communal areas by promoting visual connectivity between the spaces. The family area on the upper floors connects the parents and children’s living space. A route linking alongside the reflective pool above the family space connects to the roof garden on the parent’s block. The water body serves as a calming foreground to the distant view for the rooms on the upper floors and is effective in reducing thermal gain for the space below.
Formwerkz Architects have accomplished to carefully think through every step to the design and development process of this apartment residence successfully. Creating a space for three generations to live together and cooperate in harmony while retaining the privacy factor for each individual. A modern design residence with an amazing combination of materials used, to create a western residence with many eastern influences.
About Formwerkz Architects //
Formwerkz was founded in Singapore in 1998 by Alan Tay, Berlin Lee, and Seetoh Kum Loon. The fourth partner Gwen Tan joined the team in 2001. The office is compromised of a progressive multidisciplinary of 10-15 like-minded professionals that specialize in architecture, urban design, interior and landscape design. Formwerkz adapts a collaborative structure that encourages diverse and overlapping areas of expertise to achieve more comprehensive design solutions that transforms seemingly ordinary narratives and context into objects of meaningful beauty. It is Formwerkz’s design philosophy to seek the extraordinary and the unprecedented.