Seletar Close
Singaporean practice Formwerkz Architects has completed a modern tropical house in Singapore.

Formwerkz Architects:
How will you engage the very traditional Asian Concept of Multi-generation Living in our modern ageing Singapore society? Can Architecture address the differences in habits, desires or even the potential tensions between individuals or sub-families? These were the very first questions that we asked ourselves when we were commissioned to design the home for twelve at a quiet corner of Seletar Hill Estate. Seletar Close, image courtesy of Formwerkz Architects The idea of cluster living “apartments” with open communal spaces was devised for the separated families’ reunion. Work spaces, fun spaces, personal spaces & engaging spaces were strung together with each family’s needs carefully studied and planned with the required privacies. Hierarchies of spaces (and family cells) were carefully expressed in choice materials and architectural languages. The living spaces for the grandparents were built as a 2-storey off-form concrete cantilevered block for the expression of unparalleled strength & status. Communal spaces were designed as light and open, inviting structures. To embrace every member’s individual likings, material palettes were filtered to the most basic form of construction elements. Seletar Close, image courtesy of Formwerkz Architects The basis of selections can then be purified to simpler choice between natural colours & textures rather than subjective decorative merits. As we’ve always believed that dwelling spaces are organic, most elements were designed to be easily de-mountable and replaceable. The strategy allowed room for future growth, since we started bare & simple. Seletar Close, image courtesy of Formwerkz Architects Upon setting the game plan, the team embarked on a 26-month long creative journey that deviates from most common paths. The construction site turned into a 1:1 life-sized study model for numerous experimentations as exciting design opportunities and hurdles surface gradually in front of our eyes. Unlike most buildings that were direct translations of the contract drawings, most details were designed on-site from intensive discussions and ideas coming from the Client (a local artist), the Architects and also the Contractors. The same design spirit was pushed all the way to even the interior works. Almost all ceilings (if there is any at all), lights, cabinetry, gates & bathroom accessories were customized with simple materials, such as steel sheets & plywood, bolts & nuts. Countless samples were produced and almost all failed prototypes were recycled into other design elements (some ended up as the Client’s art material), keeping wastages to a minimum. A row of huge beautiful pine trees was invited to stay and the rear boundary wall was reborn by hand-chiselling away the old tiles inch by inch.


10 photos and 4 drawings

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