This impressive home by Hyla Architects is a concrete dreamscape of light. Constructed in 2014, the two-storey terrace house adds a spacious gem to the dense urban landscape in Singapore. The design is executed with an attention to detail, finesse, and timelessness that is characteristic of the architects' work.
The elements of the design work together flawlessly. A light well is cut through the middle of the home, capped at the top with glass and a timber trellis. Lining the ground floor, a pool divides the space in two and reflects the light that is filtered down.
Light and shadow become more than just an effect, giving form to the architecture as a material. This may conjure up images of the play with light that Louis Kahn, one of the great architectural master of modernism, orchestrated in his buildings. The form gives way to the space in between, where the light begins to paint varied compositions. Let's take a look at the light!
Here we can see the various elements coming together. We have a view into the kitchen, dining and living area that reveals the water feature running below stairs and into the pool. Again, the staggered bridges expand the feeling of spaciousness and the different materials draw out certain elements.
The enclosure of the home presents an interesting composition and use of materials, giving it a bold and beautiful street presence. The glazed ground floor level makes the social spaces of the home more visible to the street. However, the more private spaces on the upper level are afforded privacy from the concrete shell that is patterned with small slot windows. Without diminishing the merits of the exterior, it really is only a small taste of what one is going to experience upon entering. The interior unfolds a magnificent space that is thoughtful, considered, elegant and ethereal.
Here we can see the shadows cast by the timber trellis overhead, weaving a beautiful pattern of light and shadow. The off form concrete is imprinted with a delicate graphic shadow that changes to the movement of the sun in the sky. The material pallet is pared back to concrete, timber, glass and black coated steel. This restrained use of materials and finishes, means that they are not in competition with the drama of light and shadow, but instead enhance the delightful performance.
For more wall and floor materials, take a look here!
The pool on the ground floor beautifully reflects the shadow patterns cast on the walls. Dividing the living, dining and dry kitchen in the front block from the wet kitchen and service areas in the rear block, the pool facilitates a physical transition or crossing between these spaces. While the light well, pool and connecting bridges allow for the separation of functions, they also ensure it is achieved without any disconnection.
The bridges cutting through the light well at the various levels, are not in alignment. This makes the void feel larger than it is, weaving the lines of view to create a network of visual connections. The glass balustrades create a transparency that opens the space up even more. The structure and materials, whilst thoughtfully refined, all exude an honesty of expression. The off form concrete floor slab is left unfinished to the underside ceiling and floor edges, while tropical timbers of teak and chengal bring a natural warmth to the flooring and trellis.
The stair, too, is capped with glass and timber, visually and viscerally uniting it with the lightwell. It is lined below by a water feature that spills into pool. The open timber steps create a feeling of lightness as one climbs towards the spaces of repose. This lightness is enveloped by the concrete cacoon, giving a strong sense of safety and removal from the outside world.
Again, the timber trellis and glass find their way into the bathroom. Capping the shower, one can bathe in the sky, finding connection with the rhythms of nature.
If you enjoyed looking through this home by Hyla Architects, you may also like the residence they designed in Bowmont Gardens. Take a look here: A Home Designed in Nature’s Image