Water Courtyard House, a living space sensitive to the tropics
The concept of the Water Courtyard House was developed around the idea of depth and aperture in order to create a living space sensitive to the tropics. How can we enjoy the tropics while embracing practicality and sustainability?
The house is conceived as a “floating” box, overlooking a sloping site. The box is wrapped in a vertical screen and, when viewed from the back, appears to float lightly above the transparent first storey.
On the first storey, water organizes the house into 2 pavilions – one, a party wing for entertaining, and two, an intimate wing for small family gatherings. Pockets of space are oriented in a North-South direction to catch the prevailing winds. On the second floor, the bedrooms are positioned towards the back, where the ground dips down dramatically and allows for an unobstructed view of the low-lying residential district and city skyscapers beyond. On this face, a reduction of the facade fins allow greater porosity and view outwards yet still retaining the enclosure of the screened box.
The moat traces a processional sequence beginning from the car porch. A travertine-clad wall frames the entry into an internal courtyard and blurs the boundary of outside and inside. Stepping stones laid atop the water act as designated crossings between the two wings. Materiality is key in strengthening the relationship of the two wings. The internal courtyard is a double volume space flanked by walls of fair-faced concrete bearing timber plank imprints. The walls extend into the interior of the house, leading towards windows that slide open to connect atrium and interior. The water body continues on to merge seamlessly with a 27-metre long lap pool at the rear.
Beyond acting as an experiential element and organisational strategy, the water was a practical response to common pests which invade the home. Even a 50-millimetre sliver of water forms an unperceived boundary between the living spaces and external landscape.
To shield from the sun and rain, the deep aluminium fins screen the upper storey, while lower floors are set in a deep overhang. At the same time, the central promenade, situated to align with the axis of Singapore’s prevailing winds, allows an air tunnel into the central courtyard. Winds are therefore able to infiltrate into the core of the house and rise upwards through the open skylight, effectively ventilating the home. The internal court is illuminated by sunlight which projects a strong shadow on each textured wall. The smell and sound of rain also permeates the courtyard from time to time. The rhythms of Singapore’s tropical weather is felt from within a protected setting.
Furthermore, on the side of the entertainment wing, a void through to the basement provides light and ventilation into the entertainment room tucked below. The continuous water body cascades down a stone feature wall connecting the basement entertainment area with the outdoor elements. The water curtain provides a delightful backdrop of nature’s sound that is experienced on the first storey and basement spaces.
K2LD is an international practice established in Singapore in 1998 and in Melbourne in 2007.
Our Architectural Design philosophy embraces the Sense and Sensibility of Architecture
The senses mould the intricate relationship between time, light and material to allow spatial freedom that is beautiful in its myriad of expressions. Taming these exciting relationships materializes in an architectural experience. We believe that design emerges from an intensive dialogue with our Clients, a sensitive study of the site and the Client’s brief. We strive to achieve design solutions in line with current developments in architectural technologies and expression, while capturing space and light in tangible form, giving meaning to Architecture.
We are not driven by design “style“. Beauty and freedom is born out of the intensive process of creation and continuous refinement of ideas and structure intimately connected to space, function and context.