Eaton Place, Singapore

316 m2

January 2021

“Many times, while relaxing at the terrace, enjoying the wind, I feel that few landed properties have this kind of open and airy, yet private space that I have. It gives me a privileged feeling.”
– Owner, An Ample House

Seldom does one come across an owner who elects to have what is enough, as opposed to ‘maximising’ to the available envelope. The reconstruction of this semi-detached house is designed to address three requirements: privacy, adequacy, and permanence.

Situated at a T-junction corner plot on elevated ground, privacy is undoubtedly a key concern. Adequacy of daylight and ventilation must be accorded to each room in this remodelling of a single-storey dwelling into a three-storey house. Adequacy must also be measured in terms of efficiency of maintenance, especially when the home-maker owner chooses not to have a domestic helper in the house. Perhaps the most uncommon requirement, especially in Singapore’s context, is that of permanence, where the owner decides not to see the house as a temporal commodity with resale value which mandates building to the maximum allowable floor area to optimize future returns, but simply as a permanent house to be lived in and enjoyed.

A project brief conveys the owner’s values, and the resultant design is a physical manifestation of these abstract values.

The house is stepped away from the party wall to front the street with small windows for privacy and reveal hidden terraces at the back with ample openings for light and ventilation, harvesting the prevailing winds from the north, south, and southeast. This detachment from the shared wall with the neighbouring house allows the lining of skylight above the lofty living and dining rooms on first storey to animate the spaces with the diurnal passing of the sun, subtly telling time. On the second storey the three bedrooms for the children open to a private family terrace which is linked to the master bedroom suite on the third storey via the upper deck. This open-to-sky stepped terrace fronts a 20m long by 7m high feature wall, where its vast proportions evoke a sense of immensity not unlike the experience of viewing a Mark Rothko painting up close. These horizontal lines that seemingly stretch into infinity is contrasted against diagonal incisions on the street elevation of the house, composing a geometrical abstraction of mountain, valley, and horizon.

One may recall seeing images on social media of people living in small huts in the wilderness and immediately feeling envious, firstly of their freedom in owning not more than what is necessary, and secondly of their being surrounded by abundant nature. Is this longing for ‘Less is More’ symptomatic of the zeitgeist of our times, exemplified by decluttering and minimalist living, where we question our obsessions with possessions and the quantifiable, and yearn once more for the intangible and perceptual?

In light of this ongoing global revaluation of values, it is heartening that the city-state of Singapore with one of the world’s highest concentration of material wealth is able to put forth one interpretation of ample living: ample both in the sense of knowing what is enough, and in feeling bountiful with the sky, winds, and clouds.



都市生活难抛开对物质的追求,住大房子也常是普罗大众的梦想之一。所谓 “有容乃大”,一个人的 “大小” 并不取决于其身份地位财富,更关乎其是否胸襟宽大。那房子的大小除了其总面积的 “容量”,还应包含什么衡量标准呢?

三个念中小学的孩子日渐长大,屋主想将原先仅一层楼的半独立式洋房改建成三层楼。设计要求有三:隐秘,充足,永久。位于缓坡上的T型路口,房子的长立面就在路旁,因此隐秘性不可或缺。每一间房都要阳光充足,空气流通,而由于一家人选择不雇女佣,房子的大小也要 “知足”,好让女屋主独自照料家务的担子不至于过重。自称不理解别人如何视房屋改建为一种投资,屋主从未考虑过将来要转售,因此少了将面积最大化的压力,只一心想要打造自己和孩子的永久家园。对房子的要求反映主人的价值观,而设计则是将抽象的价值观实体化。


房子退离了与邻居共用的隔离墙,对外以零星散布的小窗,对内以潜藏隐蔽的阳台,让“外疏里宽”应对外在的私密与内在的开阔,也退出了收纳北, 南,东南盛行风的山谷。阳光则从谷底照进一楼的空间,在客厅与饭厅旁倚墙而下,映出了太阳的轨迹,照见了时光的更迭。二楼并列着三个孩子的房间,与三楼的主人房共享同一个分层露台空间。一面宽二十米,高七米的特色墙宛如一幅马克·罗斯科的露天巨型画,近距离向室内空间投射一种广阔无边的意境。这些看似无边无际的横线反衬房子立面的斜线,是地平线,是天际线,是山群的轮廓,是对大自然的抽象,以寄托对大自然的向往。


它让我觉得别于一般,与众不同。“ –





Photography by Studio Periphery