PhotographsNota Design International pte Ltd
From the architect. Nota Design International pte Ltd just shared with us this project called "House At Hillside" in Singapore. According to the architects, this house is a half a century old single storey terrace with an attic and is located in a huge residential zone with a plot ratio of 1.4. The potential of it being en-bloc in a few years' time is there, but by no means certain.
The occupant is a small nuclear family, consisting of the couple, 2 pre-school kids and a domestic helper. Thus, the decision to retain the main structure is made.
There are 3 main agendas the designer wanted to achieve with this house. First, the retrofitting has to be cost effective. Secondly, as responsible earthlings, it has to be a sustainable design. Last but not least, to create a symbiosis of Art and Design.
The designer will attempt to illustrate a very important point in this project. Lower budget does not equate to lower aesthetic and quality. In fact, lower budget actually means a lot more creativity required!
The total built-in area is a mere 147 sqm to start with. Original living room measures only 6m by 3.4 m and divided by old masonry walls on both ends and worsen by a low flat ceiling which makes the space incredibly small.
The front and rear walls of the living room were demolished. In their places were 2 sets of new full-height timber-framed clear glass pivot panels. This allows good cross ventilation across the length of the house when doors are opened. When closed, it allows the air conditioning unit to work more efficiently as they act as air envelops.
Flat ceiling was also removed to expose the huge space under the high pitch roof. High ceiling keeps the habitable space cooler especially when it's 6 m at its highest.
The front yard was a narrow 2.5m corridor which is hard to furnish. A second wall fronting the original living room wall was also demolished to create the new L- shaped Patio.
The 2 bedrooms were retained with some modifications. A Doorway was introduced between the 2 Bedrooms to allow direct access to the front kids' room. The small window in the master bedroom fronting the air well is transformed into a large doorway to allow occupant to enjoy natural air and greenery from the bed day and night.
The locations of the kitchen, storeroom, attic space and the 2 bathrooms were left unchanged with much cosmetic modification.
Despite the openness of the space visually, the house is actually divided up into good size spaces with air envelops to allow for efficient mechanical cooling when required.