Water-Cooled House / Wallflower Architecture + Design

© Albert Lim

Architect: Wallflower Architecture + Design
Location: Bukit Timah,
Design Team: Cecil Chee, Robin Tan & Sean Zheng
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Albert Lim

© Albert Lim

Hidden away from the road, the site is surrounded by a verdant screen of mature trees from adjacent properties. Breezes blowing transversely across the site being another notable aspect of the location. The owner had wanted a contemporary home that prioritized environmental coolness as a consistent attribute and to be able to enjoy the luscious tropical surroundings.

ground floor plan
second floor plan

The concept developed for the home inverted planning and hierarchical norms common in local residential planning. To fully appreciate the mature and variegated natural environment and stretch the potential for visual depth and distance, the main living room and study were located in a pavilion on the second storey. It was designed with minimal enclosing and supporting structure so as to maximize the elevated vistas. To unconsciously guide visitors to the living pavilion above, a minimal spiral staircase touches down within the entrance foyer. Hints of the tree-lined views are seen through the large circular void connecting the entrance foyer to the pavilion above. A dark reflecting pond surrounds the pavilion which assists in refining the experience of serene isolation and privacy and frames. The occasional bird dipping into the pond, rippling the surface further ties the house to the natural surroundings. The purpose of the second storey pond is also designed to thermally insulate the dining, bedrooms and family spaces underneath from solar heat gain. In the same way, the water body above also helps to regulate temperature swings within the house.

© Albert Lim
© Albert Lim

On the first storey, the residential and service functions of the house are delineated by a long continuous light and air well that is paralleled below by a similarly long and continuous koi pond. The pathway running along-side the pond that leads to the bedrooms hides the substantial service areas which are beyond the pathway wall. As with the second storey pond, the air well and first storey koi pond is also designed to facilitate in micro-cooling the first storey rooms and spaces. The pathway is a conduit for prevailing breezes; the koi pond’s thirty metre length and two metre width exposes a sixty square metre surface area within the house to those breezes for evaporative cooling.

© Albert Lim

As a gesture to the prominent role that water plays within the residence, an oculus within the pond highlights the main entrance, the circle of sunlight cooled and animated by the constantly changing sinusoidal patterns of refracted rays through the water above.

Cite: "Water-Cooled House / Wallflower Architecture + Design" 03 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=58294>
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  • http://www.envirology.co.nz Ingo Ratsdorf

    Interesting concept and nicely crafted. The rather pushing question – after having seen many “ESD” designs fail – is it working?
    Also you wonder wether it comes with a bicycle for the corridor and whether the owner intends to have any children who would love trowing things into the water and having babies drowning in it.
    It rather appears as a spa … See moreresort, you could imagine having spas in the cells off the corridor, the cool crisp and minimalist design also suggests that.
    As a summary, a nice design that would rather fit a commercial purpose with strong representative character.

  • ygogolak

    I guess they don’t use living rooms in Singapore. Don’t see one on the plan.

    • watanabe

      guess they don’t have second floors where you come from (or at least read their plans).

    • Mac

      If you actually looked at the plans, you will find in the legend: family and lounge spaces…

    • parDs

      its on the second floor!

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  • http://twitter.com/nicholaspatten/status/13349160215 Nicholas Patten

    I'd Live Here: Water-Cooled House. http://bit.ly/96deL6

  • http://twitter.com/wpstudios/status/13349195336 WPstudios

    RT @nicholaspatten I'd Live Here: Water-Cooled House. http://bit.ly/96deL6

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  • Mac

    And living space on the first floor…

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  • Nito Kawa

    Been there. Design really not practical.

  • Jaclyn

    Im wondering its the water feature really works? Do people just pass by or walk through the corridor or the family it self like to have sitting around the water feature?

  • http://twitter.com/eleganthoodlum/status/13926799176 Brian Baltin

    Reading: "wants to live HERE…. Water-Cooled House / Wallflower Architecture + Design | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/o2awpq )

  • http://twitter.com/eleganthoodlum/status/13926855935 Brian Baltin

    wants to live HERE….. Water Cooled-House Singapore http://www.archdaily.com/58294/water-cooled-house-wallflower-architecture-design/

  • http://twitter.com/eliotve/status/14106177249 Eliot Velazquez

    espero un dia poder tener la libertad creativa para construir algo asi http://bit.ly/cJErsh

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  • http://twitter.com/archicad/status/14685610881 ArchiCAD

    Water-Cooled House in Singapore by Wallflower Architecture: http://bit.ly/d3g59Q

  • http://twitter.com/matthiasrascher/status/14702503529 Matthias Rascher

    Great idea: water-cooled house in Singapore. http://bit.ly/cyGek7 #architecture #design #green #eco #water

  • http://twitter.com/shufflr/status/14702660309 shufflr

    Seen these in Pondicherry ( India). Grt idea.RT@matthiasrascher Great idea: water-cooled house in Singapore. http://bit.ly/cyGek7

  • http://twitter.com/ecoideasnet/status/14727161079 ecoideasnet

    Cool! RT @NewsArch: RT @matthiasrascher: Great idea: water-cooled house in Singapore. http://bit.ly/cyGek7 #architecture #design #green #eco

  • http://twitter.com/nzembi/status/14740941651 nzembi

    @natekev @nahinga Water-Cooled House in Singapore by Wallflower Architecture: http://bit.ly/d3g59Q

  • http://twitter.com/natekev/status/14773279344 Nathaniel Kev

    RT @nzembi: @nahinga Water-Cooled House in Singapore by Wallflower Architecture: http://bit.ly/d3g59Q <sweet!

  • ste

    the plan is weird…!for a luxurious villa, the staircase and dining area is located so near and almost next to the main entrance! is this for fengshui purposes or the client’s brief and requirement?Even he location of the kitchen is weird for me!

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  • JitM

    I find the location and layout of the kitchen of the kitchen somewhat strange. and the poor maid’s been given a room and a toilet the size of phone booths. anyways a floorplan can be easily changed when one wants to borrow a concept. the water features below and above can be kept as they are. it’s the concept here that makes the house special. have drawn plans like that myself. but yes this concept’s a problem if the plot and therefore the house is small.