Last week's Outdoor Spaces post focused on The Stone House in Vietnam where both the house and it's garden were intrinsically designed. Well, it appears to have happened again here but in an even more pronounced way! Elok House in Singapore, designed by Chang Architects was conceived very much from a spatial and an intuitive perspective. The architect Yong Ter, consciously tried to forget conventional principles and looked at the space as a three dimensional area, where the interior spaces are actually slotted in around the landscape instead of the other way round.
So on first glance, whilst this does not appear to be strictly an 'outside space' (it is impossible to separate what traditionally belongs outside from the inside of this building) it is fascinating to explore just how what we usually expect to see in our gardens can be incorporated directly into our living spaces.
Yong Ter designed the house with the client's (a family of 5) needs foremost. They wanted to be as close as possible to nature in this busy urban environment and whilst required some privacy, were open to a connectedness that this property provides.
The result is that there are few boundaries, living areas are defined horizontally and vertically by voids using landscape elements such as living vertical walls, waterfalls, plants and pebbles. Bear in mind that this was completed in late 2007 when the use of such things was in it's infancy and it is no surprise that the house won the Singapore President's Design of the Year award the following year.
One impact of designing a property in such as way is that the configuration of the interior spaces around the landscaping, creates a cool microclimate with consequential environmental benefits. The need for air-conditioning is reduced, the exposure to the natural environment in such close proximity to the main shopping strip Orchard Road must add to the quality of life for the lucky family who live here.
Plants and trees are used to great effect through out the space with no regard for whether they are in or out - slender trunked trees seemingly grow out of the kitchen floor and up through the ceiling into the outside void above! It seems that once you allow yourself the freedom to carve space up without the usual conventions that truly creative living follows! I don't think I would ever get tired of living in this space with it's ever changing foliage and the interest that it provides - no need for Art here when you have nature literally growing all around you!