Design TeamLee Liting, Chow Khoon Toong
Text description provided by the architects. Design for the interiors of this apartment in a high-density 800-unit public housing development is driven by aspirations to create a mini house out of a humble flat unit. The potential of space within the flat is unlocked through the bold decision to remove all existing non-structural internal walls. The open-plan layout created is emotionally uplifting, a welcome retreat from the crowdedness of urban living. Space starts to breathe and become alive, changing through the day and adjusting to different routine needs. This fluidity is especially stimulating for children, who are thrilled by the interactivity and scale of available play area.
Strategic placement of sliding partitions and a full-height glass wall (coupled with privacy curtains) allow 2 bedrooms to be independent spatial units that continue to form part of the larger living space. The master bedroom is accessed from an indoor garden with views out, a key spatial re-configuration that replaces the typical layout of having an internal corridor. Sliding partitions incorporating operable shutters enable the guest room to be either naturally ventilated via the indoor garden or air-conditioned.
The master bedroom is re-zoned into a vanity area and space accommodating a king-sized bed by having a full height wardrobe as divider. The wardrobe is lifted from the floor by a bottom steel frame, allowing natural light to filter through to the vanity area. This re-zoning is made possible by first relocating the wash basin within the master bath to the external face of the bathroom enclosure. Space within the master bath is also freed up to accommodate both a bathtub and a separate shower stall, enabling indulgent bath routines.
Spatial layering forms a dominant language in the design - space seems to multiply and become enriched when it embraces a spectrum of malleability. The way light interacts with space changes when elements are mobile, and depth of view shifts with the movement. With the sliding partitions and privacy curtains open, the visual depth of space extends throughout the full width of the apartment, animated by light.
Unifying elements on the same plane similarly gives the effect of spatial expansion. For instance, a continuous feature wall integrating 2 concealed doors visually extends one end of the guest room. One of the doors camouflages the common bath entrance, while the other leads to a walk-in wardrobe serving the guest room. This feature wall continues, albeit across a glass wall, into the master bedroom where it morphs into the vanity counter.
The flexible enclosure of the guest room is achieved with full functionality through the integration of 2 concealed single beds. A pull-out bed is tucked beneath the raised timber deck of the indoor garden, while the other is a wall bed that is stored upright and folds down easily during bedtime. A curved curtain track recessed into the false ceiling caters for a privacy curtain to be drawn next to the common bath entrance, demarcating a passageway independent of the guest room.
The indoor garden transforms circulation space into a meaningful space for relaxation, where plants thrive within integrated planter stands next to windows. Mobile self-watering pots sit within the planter stands for plants to be easily moved around for regular misting and repotting. With a purist approach toward architectural space making, confines of an apartment give way to a liberating way of living.