May 24, 2008

Cool haven for seven

These award-winning homes prove that it is possible to meet diverse needs and still have style

By Tay Suan Chiang

ALL UNDER ONE ROOF: The home owners live on the topmost floor of this three-storey bungalow, while their daughter and her family live in the basement, which looks out to the garden and pool. The middle storey is for their inter-generational gatherings.

The entrance from the road leads to the second level of the home, and the kitchen, living and dining rooms.


By Chan Sau Yan Associates

Fitting in three generations under one roof, and providing everyone with privacy while allowing for interaction is no easy task.

But in this three-storey bungalow off Jervois Road, veteran architect Sonny Chan, 66, met the needs of his clients, and also won a design award for it in the residential category at this week's Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Awards.

His clients are an elderly couple who live with their daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren. They declined to be named.

The house, completed last December, is over 1,000 sq m in floor area. The two families have their own private areas, but there is also a common level for get-togethers.

The entrance from the road leads to the second level of the home, and the kitchen, living and dining rooms.

The daughter and her family live in the basement, which looks out onto the pool and garden. This area has four bedrooms, and its own kitchen, living and dining areas.

The home owners live on the top floor.

Mr Chan, who declined to reveal construction costs, used concrete for the facade and roof, and says this makes the home look outstanding and creates a presence in the neighbourhood.

To reduce trapped heat, the interior has high spaces and there are adjustable glass louvred windows at the end of the roof that allow heat to escape.

Large windows provide unblocked views of the surrounding lush greenery and also provide cross-ventilation.

Pet-friendly home

CUTTING-CAGE: A feature of this home is the cage-like structure that is both a home to aparrots and the facade of a shower.


By Formwerkz Architects

This intermediate terrace house at Opera Estate is just 250 sq m in size, but it doesn't feel small at all.

It was designed by Formwerkz Architects for an undisclosed sum for Andrew Foo and his family, who declined to be interviewed.

Formwerkz's director Gwen Tan, 33, said her firm faced the challenge of fitting many features into a small plot.

The two-storey house - which won an SIA design award in the residential category - has four bedrooms and an attic, and comes with plenty of large windows for cross-ventilation.

The architects did away with a main door and put in a metal gate that allows the breeze in. Through such features, the house stays cool without air-conditioning.

Another challenge was accommodating the owners' parrots. These now live in a special two-storey cage in the living room.

But while the caged area on the first level is for the birds, the structure, with the addition of curtains, becomes a shower area for the owners on the second storey.

A bird stand in the cage serves as a perch for the parrots, and doubles as a cover for a water pipe.

Concrete was used for the flooring, which not only keeps the house cool but 'is also easy to maintain', said Ms Tan.

As well, the owners' dogs have free run of the house and with concrete flooring, it doesn't matter if they scratch it.