Text description provided by the architects. A curved external courtyard defines the character of this family home in Singapore. Due to the highly built-up nature of suburban districts, the courtyard was conceptualised as a means to create inward facing views, and introduce light and ventilation into the house without sacrificing privacy.
The typical Singapore house has fenestration which faces outwards to the surrounding neighbours and street. The form of the house was derived as a response to this urban context, with inward facing views to the courtyard and a high party wall providing privacy from the adjoining neighbour. A key focus in this house is to invite natural light and views deep within, with the courtyard linked to the main living spaces and staircase atrium.
Chord House, termed due to the notion of how two points on a curve are related, inverts this idea, and we employed a curved building form to emphasize the notion of the courtyard being carved out from the house, much like a negative vase-like space containing a piece of landscape or planting. This is reinforced by the contrast of the curved façade to the rest of the house, which is mainly straight and rectangular in form. This continues on to the design of the arching staircase inside the house, which is closely related to the courtyard and derives its shape from it.
Light bush-hammered granite stone was selected to clad the building mass, with black aluminium frames as contrasting elements. It was intentional that the external stone cladded wall should continue on into the interior staircase atrium, so that the threshold between inside and outside should be seamless. For the courtyard, a single tree known locally as a 'leopard tree' was sourced and imported from Malaysia. A custom-made circular terrazzo bench was casted at its base. The sun casts shadows of the tree branches deep within the house, forming varying patterns on the staircase atrium wall depending on the time of day. On the interiors, grey marble flooring and a combination of dark and light oak wall panelling complete the material palette.