Astrid Hill House, a reinterpretation of a traditional Chinese courtyard house in Singapore by Tsao & McKown

Astrid Hill House, a reinterpretation of a traditional Chinese courtyard house in Singapore by Tsao & McKown

Architects: Tsao & McKown
Location: Singapore
Year: 2015
Area: 10,656 ft²/ 990 m²
Photo courtesy: Tsao & McKown

This house is designed as a model of sustainable design and a re-interpretation of a traditional Chinese courtyard house.


The design divides different programmatic requirements (residential spaces for the owners and their extended family, office spaces, and entertain­ing areas) into separate branches connected by an open-air two-story atrium. These branches can be shut down independently in order to conserve energy use when unoccupied. The open-ended courtyards and multiple interior/exterior rooms are complemented in this tropical setting by lush landscaping that integrates the house with the surrounding land.


The building’s massing and fenestration are organized to minimize solar heat gain. The design also makes use of green roofs and living walls that provide significant evaporative cooling plus a rainwater harvesting system that supplies the water features. Light wells weave from the roof to the basement to bring natural light to the interiors and reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day. A small garden supplies enough vegetables and herbs to feed the residents.

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