Simple home for a growing family with many operable screens to open or separate the space

Simple home for a growing family with many operable screens to open or separate the space

Architects: Pencil Office
Location: Singapore
Year: 2016
Area: 3.660 ft²/ 340 m²
Photo courtesy: Khoo Guo Jie, Erik L’Heureux

“A Simple Home for a Growing Family addresses one of the more ubiquitous challenges of raising a family of five; preserving spaces for adult entertaining and relaxation while permitting the joys and mess of childhood to playout simultaneously. The ability to be together and open or be separate and contained allows the home to be reconfigured based on a variety of daily inhabitations; from the afternoon childhood play time returning from school, to the early evening baby nap, to the noise and excitement of a family dinner in the kitchen, to entertaining with adult guests in the dining room enjoying a glass of wine.


The design utilizes a series of operable screens to open or separate space depending on the needs of the family. The design allows for four states of enclosure and openness; from cross ventilated, breezy and open to the exterior, to air conditioned and internally open yet distinct from the exterior, to separations between public and private use internally allowing children play areas distinct from formal entertaining areas, and finally to a completely separated state for quietude, evening entertaining, and concurrent sleeping for children. This flexibility also creates a variety of atmospheres and relationships to the equatorial climate of Singapore.


The timber screens allow for a visual interference while permitting light to pass through in a veil like quality of hazy diffuse daylight and noise reduced ambience. Laminated glass, positioned between the timber verticals break down space both acoustically and climatically, articulating one space from the other in quietude with distinct states of comfort. The vertical screen pattern likewise mitigates sound reverberation in the public areas of the home creating a hushed atmosphere even with high levels of noise with children at play.


A series of modifications to the original apartment maximize reuse of existing materials. The original marble floor is retained, re-polished and extended, as is the existing timber floor. The cerused oak used throughout the home is selected to match the existing tonality while allowing daylight to reflect into the relatively deep floor plate naturally illuminating the interior. A long gallery, wrapped in cerused oak center to the sleeping area links four bedrooms into a distinct private zone. Two long balconies flank the home, providing additional space for evening relaxing to the master bedroom and living space on the east elevation, while the western facing balcony is repurposed for service areas while minimizing heat gain from the afternoon sun.


A minimal material palette, select furniture choices to complement the existing collection and an overall attention to craftsmanship tie the design together into a simple yet intelligent design for a growing family all attune to the realities of family life on the equator.”

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