Text description provided by the architects. The 2-1/2 storey corner terrace house in Singapore, is flanked on its long western face by a Category 3 road with a traffic crossing and a highway viaduct. The site is polluted with noise arising out of the on-coming traffic at 2 different speeds and its accompanying privacy issues due to its close proximity to the main thoroughfares. The site tapers from the front to the back, with its longest face exposed to the heat of the western sun and the front facing an road intersection.The client wanted a house that can adapt to the expanding needs of a multi-generation family and called for a sustainable design that can mediate the extremely unfavorable site condition while minimizing its energy demand from air-conditioning.
The overarching, environmental need to combat the traffic noise and western sun without resorting to a fully air-conditioned and walled-in design became the driving force of the concept. A key strategy was to create a huge basement to locate the main living space, the master en-suite and part of the garden below grade. The basement is a natural shadow zone in relation to the sound path of the adjacent traffic. It is possible to open to the environment with the most minimum noise impact. Shielded from the western sun, it is also the most shaded and coolest part of the house.
Above ground, we envisioned the house to be an armadillo where the skin of the building along the western face is designed to be impervious to the harsh environment. The use of glazing along this face is limited to a narrow horizontal band, a metre above grade, sufficiently shaded by the garden and boundary walls.
On the upper floors, indirect daylight penetrates the interior space through the full height glazing on the southern face of the segmented volumes. Mechanical Fans are installed on the rooftop to induced a stack effect, drawing air from the basement to the upper floors via the the double volume in the basement and the open raiser stairs that connects the upper floors.