The homeowner and his family have been living in this property for many years, but a growing brood of grandchildren prompted him to embark on a redevelopment project. His brief to architect Chan Loo Siang, design principal of Inte Architects, was simple: to build a multigeneration home that would cater to the needs of the family.
“Architecture is doing, not seeing; making, not impressing,” shares Chan, as he explains his design philosophy. With that in mind, he sought to design a house that is a thoughtful blend of modern design and practical style.
The architectural massing comprises two clearly legible orthogonal volumes connected by a link bridge overlooking the pool. “They are like two concrete boxes that are pulled apart on the sides, yet connected at the same time,” Chan describes. “The client wanted a sizeable pool and deck in between the two blocks, so we pushed them towards the front and rear of the plot respectively.” The external facades are finished in concrete, a material that Chan chose for its sense of permanence and solidity. He was inspired by the works of Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens, which feature the extensive use of off-form concrete that expresses a sense of robust scale, but in a fluid, malleable way. “I love that the off-form concrete appears brutal, yet softens under natural lighting,” says the architect.
Two types of concrete finishes were used: off-form timber-textured concrete for the block up front and fair-faced concrete for the rear block. This distinction reflects the symbolic relationship between the two blocks. “The rear block is like an offspring, which is independent yet remains attached to the parent,” explains Chan. There is also an architectural dialogue between the dark grey timber-textured concrete which conveys a more rustic look, and the light grey concrete that has a more Japanese touch to it.
A concrete box housing the family room extends above the car porch. The juxtaposition of the heavy material with a cantilevered structure presents an interesting contrast that lends complexity to an understated expression.
The house sits on a slope and the road level at the main entrance is approximately four and a half metres higher than the deck towards the rear. It features a discreet main entrance leading from the car porch, which complements the understated exterior of the house.