WORK 015

Colonnade House

The project began with a simple and straightforward request from the clients – they wanted a “black and white bungalow”, a residential typology reproduced by European colonial families in tropical South East Asia. Apart from referencing the obvious aesthetics of a black and white bungalow, we were more interested in the architectural innovations and intricacies behind the black and white bungalow’s adaptation to the tropical climate. This was displayed through passive cooling strategies, such as porousness for ventilation and verandahs as circulation and a buffer against direct heat sunlight — strategies that we transformed and translated into the building plot assigned to us.

The architecture is organised in a simple structural grid, with the center of the house spatially connecting the three floors, firstly through a void, and secondly through vertical circulation. The triple volume void connects the family through its deep relationship with circulation, as the house entrance, entrance and exit of the staircase & lift directly confronts the void, as well as the activities surrounding it, such as eating, drinking, studying, working and playing.

Surrounding the home on three sides are continuous verandahs on every upper floor, setting back the bedrooms and internal spaces from the perimeter, providing each bedroom a semi-outdoor for respite. In combination with the use of permeable screens of concrete ventilation blocks and bamboo blinds, the verandahs act as soft barriers negotiating view, heat and light, allowing the internal spaces to be opened fully for natural ventilation without sacrificing the privacy of the family. 

The attic sits just above the roof lines of neighbouring houses, which provides the family with an unblocked view of Bukit Timah Hill — Singapore’s highest peak fully covered in a verdant rainforest. Whether it is relaxing, having parties or simply doing household chores, the jungle view and the changing tropical light transforms into a romantic backdrop to the family’s diurnal and quotidian activities.