“My house is my refuge, an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience,” declared Mexican architect Luis Barragán, perfectly encapsulating the reason we spend so much thought and investment on our ideal home. The style, form and choice of materials of a house not only cater to our changing lifestyles and new technology; they can provide ample room for experimentation.
Guided by awareness of the ongoing environmental damage and the Covid-19 pandemic, architects have received increased requests for features such as balconies, naturally ventilated spaces and indoor plants. “The post-pandemic world is starting to realise how impactful nature is. In the past, where spaces had very clear boundaries between nature and the built environment, very few experienced how calming it is to have nature within the house,” says Lim Shing Hui, founder of L Architects.
Another emerging trend is that of multigenerational homes; cultural influences, an ageing population and increased housing prices are among the contributing factors. “In many ways, our Asian cultures’ strong emphasis on filial piety and the primacy of family encourage us to fortify and value their intergenerational family ties, particularly the parent-child relationship,” says Lim Cheng Kooi, principal director of AR43 Architects. Here, we profile some of the trends we believe we will see more of.
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1. Form: Stepping Up
Beyond their utilitarian function, staircases are also excellent vehicles for architectural expression. “What better opportunity than an element that can be appreciated on every floor, to enhance the spaces with a three-dimensional focal point,” says Maria Arango of ArMo Design Studio, a firm she co-founded with her husband Diego Molina last year after designing more than 100 houses for local multidisciplinary design firm Ong&Ong.
That is not to say one can ignore aspects of safety. For instance, in designing spiral metal staircases, one needs to ensure the steps are not slippery when wet, and factor in proper widths and the provision of handrails.