Bukit Timah, Singapore – Wallflower Architecture + Design
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Albert Lim
At an elevation of 537 feet, Bukit Timah is the highest point in Singapore and this home sits right at the crown. The views are extensive and the elevation ensures a constant breeze. That breeze is used to water cool the home, making it a pleasant environment without the use of the ubiquitous Singaporean air-con units.
The ponds installed along the pathway on the first floor, and around the pavilion on the second floor serve as a cooling agent as the house catches the heat of the sun. The main living and entertaining areas are on the upper level where the massive overhangs ensure that the glass walls are fully shaded during the heat of the day. The walls open to the breeze and can be left open even during a tropical downpour.
“A dark reflecting pond surrounds the pavilion which assists in refining the experience of serene isolation and privacy and frames. The occasional bird dipping into the pond, rippling the surface further ties the house to the natural surroundings. The purpose of the second storey pond is also designed to thermally insulate the dining, bedrooms and family spaces underneath from solar heat gain. In the same way, the water body above also helps to regulate temperature swings within the house.
On the first storey, the residential and service functions of the house are delineated by a long continuous light and air well that is paralleled below by a similarly long and continuous koi pond. The pathway running along-side the pond that leads to the bedrooms hides the substantial service areas which are beyond the pathway wall. As with the second storey pond, the air well and first storey koi pond is also designed to facilitate in micro-cooling the first storey rooms and spaces. The pathway is a conduit for prevailing breezes; the koi pond’s thirty metre length and two metre width exposes a sixty square metre surface area within the house to those breezes for evaporative cooling.
As a gesture to the prominent role that water plays within the residence, an oculus within the pond highlights the main entrance, the circle of sunlight cooled and animated by the constantly changing sinusoidal patterns of refracted rays through the water above.”
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