Buy, sell, rent or just ogle the best-designed homes in Singapore.

This monolithic concrete box along Adam Road by Formwerkz Architects is a GCB with an unexpectedly green heart

This monolithic concrete box along Adam Road by Formwerkz Architects is a GCB with an unexpectedly green heart

If you have been to Adam Food Centre recently, you might have noticed an austere, box-like structure directly opposite the entrance to the carpark. At street level, it appears to be entirely formed by concrete and marked by what looks like inscriptions that echo Egyptian hieroglyphs.  “People have asked if it is a police station, embassy or even a temple. The last thing it looks like is a house,” admits Alan Tay, one of the founding partners of Formwerkz Architects and the mastermind behind the design of what is in fact a Good Class Bungalow (GCB).  Invisible to the passerby are interiors that are dramatically different from the monolithic outside. A sizeable internal garden takes up about a quarter of the building footprint on the 1,440sqm plot. Additionally, pockets of landscaping are inserted into the basement and first storey, with voids stacked above that open to the sky.  Naturally, there is an incredible sense of openness, with both the public and private living areas overlooking all that gorgeous greenery. Tay has also devised a circulation that enables a constant connection…

Award-winning studio apartment in Bukit Panjang by Metre Architects on the market

Award-winning studio apartment in Bukit Panjang by Metre Architects on the market

Here is a rare opportunity to acquire an award-winning apartment conceptualised by Woon Chung Yen of Metre Architects and featured in an array of design media, including designmilk, nevertoosmall and, indeed, ADDRESS itself. Situated in in Bukit Panjang, it is an attractively priced, one-bedroom studio unit, which has been uniquely customised. Faced with the task of incorporating all the functions of daily life into a compact space, many designers would have looked to a compressed layout with an emphasis on foldaway units. Woon has, instead, gone for a radically different approach, ingeniously taking advantage of relatively high ceilings to create a layered solution, with work and dining functions at the lower levels ascending to the bed at the peak of the “hill”. As he puts it, “When you move up or down this slope, the space changes, the function changes. There is openness at the base of the slope to meet friends; there is intimacy at the top of the slope to rest, to be alone. “Functionality is built into the design. Every step, every tilt, every indentation, every protrusion,…

FOR SALE: $820,000
YWA Studio contrasts the fortress-like façade of this semi-detached house in Telok Blangah with open interiors 

YWA Studio contrasts the fortress-like façade of this semi-detached house in Telok Blangah with open interiors 

So successful was YWA Studio in applying a monochromatic palette to parts of this semi-detached house in Telok Blangah that the photographer had to come back to do a reshoot. The reason? “All I saw was a big black mess,” laughs Tan Yue Wei, the Principal Architect and Founder of the design firm.  Done in response to the clients’ brief of keeping things clean and minimalist, the three-and-a-half-storey home also reflects their love for the Japanese street style and grunge aesthetic. The result is entire rooms and swathes of feature walls that are covered in dark grey or black laminates.  Mirroring this is the austere front façade design, composed of a solid graphite-coloured wall and a slim, inverted-L-shaped cutout on the side. Conceived at the clients’ insistence, it is overt in its message about the high value they place on privacy. No surprise then that Tan named the project Maison Forteresse. “Apart from the balcony on top, everything else is just pretty closed up at the front,” he says.  Light and bright Enter the house though and any lair-like impressions…

Metre Architects transforms this semi-detached house in Sin Ming with a nature-inspired material palette

Metre Architects transforms this semi-detached house in Sin Ming with a nature-inspired material palette

When Metre Architect’s Woon Chung Yen first entered this semi-detached house in Sin Ming, he was floored. Yawning open from left to right was a 15.3m-long interior, leading him to think, “Oh my goodness, what am I going to do with this whole volume of space? How will I animate it?”  Although in charge only of designing the interiors, Woon was quick to fall back on his architecture training. He immediately recognised the opportunity to anchor the linear space by establishing an axial order. Onto this he planned the living and dining areas, under which a 13m customised carpet would run. Overhead, a double-light channel on the ceiling also emphasises this.  It certainly helped that the brief was simple, “basically just making the interiors of the common areas look good”, he shares. Woon went on to focus on materiality, most notably the use of natural and man-made materials to clad the surfaces and make the furniture and fittings. The most striking is the sandstone feature wall, alongside the living room and part of the dining area.  In coming up with…

HYLA Architects stacks two double-volume spaces in this Bukit Timah bungalow

HYLA Architects stacks two double-volume spaces in this Bukit Timah bungalow

“Is there a cave in the house?” Stand in front of this bungalow by HYLA Architects in Bukit Timah and this is a thought that might surface. Burmese teak-clad walls, the slender edges of a concrete shell and greenery are the main elements that pop on the front façade. These seem to wrap around what feels like a tall, empty space that gapes open like the jaws of a yawning hippo.  In fact, it is the double-volume communal area on the second floor, measuring 4.8m in height, that encompasses, from front to back, the swimming pool, living room, dining area and dry kitchen. “I wanted something grand, powerful and strong,” says Han Loke Kwang, the founder and principal architect of HYLA, who intended for it to counterbalance the crowded estate that the 533.4sqm plot sits within.  This bag of surprises does not just end there. Beyond it, to the rear, is another double-volume space, this time a landscaped internal courtyard. Half a floor up, it is perfectly framed by a cutout in the dry kitchen wall, lined with Pietra di…

K2LD Architects designs a GCB in Bukit Timah for a multi-generational family, arranged in a triangular configuration 

K2LD Architects designs a GCB in Bukit Timah for a multi-generational family, arranged in a triangular configuration 

We have a fondness for featuring multi-generation abodes, enticed by the warm, familial ties they represent and, from the design perspective, the high level of creativity that architects demonstrate for such homes. This Good Class Bungalow (GCB) in Bukit Timah by K2LD Architects embodies all this and more.  Christened “The Triptych”, it is obviously made up of three distinct wings arranged in a triangular configuration, lived in by a mother, her two daughters and their families. Each block uniquely accommodates the residents’ lifestyle needs, while being part of a congruous whole, through covered canopies on the ground floor and a complementary palette of materials and consistent design language.  In the middle of the three wings is a central courtyard, complete with a swimming pool. There, an elliptical void seamlessly extends down to the basement to introduce natural daylight and ventilation – done in the same spirit as the rest of the house.  “The decision to adopt a triangular layout was primarily influenced by the plot’s shape. This also aligned effectively with the clients’ needs for individual private spaces (represented by…

Artistroom sensitively renovates an apartment in Pandan Valley

Artistroom sensitively renovates an apartment in Pandan Valley

Pandan Valley ranks among one of the first and most iconic condominium developments in Singapore. Designed by pioneer generation architect Tan Cheng Siong and completed in 1979, it is part of the country’s precious stock of modernist buildings that seems to be fast disappearing, despite calls to conserve them.  It is therefore heartening to learn about homeowners who not only appreciate such developments’ heritage, but also encourage their interior designer to respect it in the renovation process – as this one did with Artistroom.  One of the distinctive characteristics of Pandan Valley is how the units were conceptualised to have the feel of a landed house. The result is expansive spaces and selected ones with layouts that span multiple floors. It is precisely these features that attracted the owners to purchase an apartment there.  “They had sold their landed house and were looking for a condominium unit that was equivalent in terms of square feet to their previous home,” says Katy Chong, who is the Senior Spatial Designer of Artistroom and runs the practice with her husband Mark Chen. Among…

Christian Liaigre drives the design of this semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu Interior Design

Christian Liaigre drives the design of this semi-detached house in Bukit Timah by Joey Khu Interior Design

When it comes to creating a desirable environment, one of the biggest challenges is having a vision strong enough to pull together disparate elements to achieve a cohesive result. For this project by Joey Khu Interior Design, this obstacle was overcome in a beautifully simple fashion, because of the clients’ love for the work of one man: Christian Liaigre.  “The design brief provided by the owners was quite specific and centred on their admiration for the renowned French interior designer,” shares Joey Khu, who runs his eponymous firm and helmed the project along with his colleague Jerry Tan. “The owners wanted to incorporate this design concept into their home, as it would blend seamlessly with their existing Christian Liaigre pieces.”  Starting with the structure  The vision may have been clear but the project was far from a straightforward one. The three-storey semi-detached home in Bukit Timah was old and dark, and its floor size of 4,600sqft was poorly laid out.  “The space was not only impractical but also lacked the functionality that the family needed,” says Khu, referring to a…

Arche Design Co. introduces the Scandinavian farmhouse aesthetic to a HDB flat in northeast Singapore

Arche Design Co. introduces the Scandinavian farmhouse aesthetic to a HDB flat in northeast Singapore

The request for a neutral palette is a common one in residential design. For this five-room HDB apartment in northeast Singapore by Arche Design Co., it was especially pertinent since one of its owners is an influencer. This means her home has to be a stage for her to video and photograph the products she endorses, while also doubling as a personal sanctuary and retreat from the outside world.  According to Edward Seet, Principal Designer of Arche, the owner did not have a specific ask around how the neutral palette should play out, except that she likes wood tones. “She said she can vibe better with this theme,” he explains. As a result, they settled on the Scandinavian farmhouse aesthetic and had it unfold across the entire 110sqm.  Since it was a resale flat, Seet had to have the space entirely gutted and remodelled to suit the new direction. Among the highlights are a seamless connection between the kitchen, dining and living rooms, as well as a corner and room specifically for the owner to do her shoots.  Light and…

S+Arch Design employs a curlicued façade for this Sembawang Hills terrace house

S+Arch Design employs a curlicued façade for this Sembawang Hills terrace house

Pass this terrace house in Sembawang Hills too quickly and you might just miss its most interesting design element: a curlicued façade that gives it a graceful, monolithic form and an architecture that evokes calmness and tranquillity. Sitting on a plot of approximately 2,000sqft, it is designed by S+Arch Design, which demolished the original property on the site and built this new house to accommodate a total built-up area of 3,590sqft.  The house’s thoughtfully curated material palette – lime wash plaster, micro cement, oak timber, brushed metal, bush hammered granite and honed marble – complements its curvilinear minimalist silhouette, while creating a highly textured backdrop for its pared-back, Mediterranean-inspired interiors.  “The aesthetics are a fluid play of clean, straight lines and sensual curves. The façade’s serif swerves to shield against the heat of the western sun and provides the interiors with enhanced privacy, while double-height windows encourage interior ventilation and draw in natural light,” says S+Arch Design’s founder Stanley Tan.  “We were looking for a pure sculptural form, a monolithic volume where the facade design is seamlessly moulded out. The…

A continuous balcony envelopes the second floor of a GCB in Holland by RT+Q Architects

A continuous balcony envelopes the second floor of a GCB in Holland by RT+Q Architects

Given the astronomical prices of Good Class Bungalows (GCB) in Singapore, it is typically the practice for their owners to live in them. Breaking from the norm was this client of RT+Q Architects, whose request was to design a house that could be rented out. In doing so, the residence had to aim for what it called “a universal appeal” for both its façade and layout.  Working in the architects’ favour were elements such as the low-density neighbourhood located in the district of Holland, lots of greenery between the plots and an upward-sloping piece of land. That the 1,500sqm site had a long driveway was advantageous too, since the client wanted the house sited as far back from the road as possible. A final request: something that was “easy to build and compact”. In response, the team, made up of Rene Tan, TK Quek, Jonathan Quek and Jes Ang, conceived a distinctive, square-shaped, two-storey building with a continuous balcony around the entire perimeter of the upper floor. This is perched past the 25m-long pool and lengthy entryway. They went on…

Studio iF redesigns four duplexes in a condo on Orchard Boulevard to create villas in the sky

Studio iF redesigns four duplexes in a condo on Orchard Boulevard to create villas in the sky

As design challenges go, Gwen Tan of Studio iF knew she was being presented with an unusual one when a property developer approached her to relaunch part of their condominium project on Orchard Boulevard with a new design angle. The reason for the change? The marketability of the four duplexes on the highest two floors, due to the required blockage (by law and for security reasons) of views from all bedrooms facing a specific direction.  Fortunately, during the site inspection, Tan suddenly had an idea, prompting her to question, “What if I could make your biggest constraint your biggest selling point?” Her proposed solution centred on merging the four duplexes into two, such that they stretched out across the building, thus making sure that the homeowners would not lose out on the views. “On receipt of the building plans, I was quite pleased to find a singular gap in the core, which presented an opportunity to create a brand new typology out of an amalgamated footprint,” she says.  As can be imagined, melding staggered duplex units was a hugely complex project.…

Wallflower Architects wraps a GCB in Bukit Timah with an Accoya wood screen and lush landscaping 

Wallflower Architects wraps a GCB in Bukit Timah with an Accoya wood screen and lush landscaping 

Almost entirely wrapped in landscaping, the latest residential project by Wallflower Architects is aptly named Touching Eden House. Creepers dangle down the Accoya wood screen and tropical trees are planted so abundantly that the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) seems to stand in their snug embrace.  Peel back its layers though and an amazing story emerges – one of strict setback requirements, challenging site conditions, changing owners and privacy concerns. In overcoming all of these issues, Robin Tan, the Principal Architect of Wallflower, was able to design this slice of paradise in Bukit Timah, specifically located along the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  “I always say that when you solve a problem beautifully, people actually wish they have this problem, so that they can adopt your solution,” quips Tan.  A long, rectangle solution  As evidence of just how insurmountable the perceived challenges of the site were, this tale begins with the sale of the GCB – or the inability to complete it. The original owners met with not one but two prospective buyers who did not exercise their option to purchase. It finally…

Stacey Leong Interiors makes over a bungalow in MacRitchie with a calm, minimalist aesthetic

Stacey Leong Interiors makes over a bungalow in MacRitchie with a calm, minimalist aesthetic

The green movement has made its mark on the architecture industry through sustainable design, energy-efficient buildings, renewable materials and the adaptive reuse of existing structures. Indeed, preserving a house is one of the most eco-conscious decisions any new homeowner can make. Another excellent reason for doing so: timeless, classic design.  This was the case for this bungalow in MacRitchie, which was conceived and built in 2005 by Bedmar & Shi, the firm of renowned Argentinian architect Ernesto Bedmar. “Their utmost priority was to preserve the architecture of the original house,” says Stacey Leong of her clients, who hired her to give the home a makeover. The first floor of the building houses an office, an en suite guest bedroom, a formal living area, lounge, kitchen, dining room and powder rooms; while the second floor has the master suite and three bedrooms.  “There were no layout changes, apart from converting the basement to a gym and installing an office in the front of the house,” says Leong, who runs her own eponymous firm. “For daily living, the client yearned for a…

Guz Architects crowns a bungalow in the Farrer Road neighbourhood with a well-landscaped pavilion

Guz Architects crowns a bungalow in the Farrer Road neighbourhood with a well-landscaped pavilion

For better or worse, we live in a time when increasing urban density, diminished resources and climate change are challenging architects, including those practising in Southeast Asia. It leads them not just to rethink their approach to green design, but also to convince reluctant clients to join the cause – if, for no other reason, than that incorporating climate-appropriate features is a sensible and, in the long run, cost-effective thing to do.  For over 20 years now, Guz Wilkinson of Guz Architects has been grappling with this very issue, always searching, in one house after the other, for ways to harness the natural elements to cool, shade and even power. His latest project – a 10,400sqft manse in the Farrer Road neighbourhood of the Botanic Gardens that is shoehorned into an oddly narrow triangular plot – is yet another salvo in his ongoing quest to create homes that quietly connect occupants with nature, but without being overtly evangelical about the process. It helped that from the outset, the client’s brief was a fait accompli. “They like greenery and gardens, and…

A bungalow designed by Local Architecture Research + Design in the Dunearn estate is topped with a “sun hat” 

A bungalow designed by Local Architecture Research + Design in the Dunearn estate is topped with a “sun hat” 

Houses with starkly outlined pitched roofs in Singapore are common enough. What is less heard of is them being likened to “a sun hat worn by farmers”. This is exactly how Local Architecture Research + Design described a bungalow it designed in the Dunearn estate. Less visible is the sizable kitchen, which takes up almost two-thirds of the first storey, included at the request of one of the owners who is deeply passionate about the culinary arts.  Another feature of the two-and-a-half-storey residence is the play of light and dark – something that is immediately apparent on the façade, through the use of grey tones. Collectively, they come together in response to the brief for a home that is “simple, timeless and elegant…with a really big kitchen”, says Cheung Yuting, the Principal Architect of the practice.  Collaborating with him on this project is 4PLUS8, an interior fit-out solutions firm helmed by Andrew Lim. While Cheung provided the bones for the house, Lim worked closely with the owner to customise the kitchen, as well as provide cabinetry in the entryway, living…

MAKK Architects defines a semi-detached house in Ang Mo Kio with a series of interlocking barrel vaults 

MAKK Architects defines a semi-detached house in Ang Mo Kio with a series of interlocking barrel vaults 

A quick glance at MAKK Architects’ latest completed project might yield the impression that the designer recently went on a whirlwind tour of cathedrals across Europe, or that the owners are deeply religious. Its Principal, Lee May Anne, immediately bursts into peals of laughter at the suggestions. “No and no!” she exclaims mirthfully. “But it is the first thing that everyone says when I show them the house.” The reason for these assumptions is obvious. The massing of the semi-detached house, located in Ang Mo Kio, is defined by a series of interlocking barrel vaults of various heights and widths. To Lee, the explanation boils down to mathematics, “I like complex geometry because it gives you the possibility of creating and crafting a lot of incidental spaces, which I love.” Complex feels about right. A virtual walk-through of the residence via floorplans, photographs and the to-scale model Lee painstakingly built had this writer all twisted up in knots. Another contributing factor is the life stages of the occupants. The owners are parents to four sons who range in age between…

Maps Design Studio reinvigorates this bungalow in Holland two decades after it first conceptualised it

Maps Design Studio reinvigorates this bungalow in Holland two decades after it first conceptualised it

Some 23 years ago, a two-storey, L-shaped bungalow was built atop one of the high points of the hilly Holland neighbourhood. Lived in by a family of four, it was conceptualised by Maps Design Studio and bore the aesthetic of a tropical resort that the practice is known for. Fast forward two decades and the same team was assembled and tasked to give the house a makeover.  Interestingly, while the assumption was that the brief would involve restructuring it to become a multi-generation home, it was in fact the opposite – to redesign it to accommodate the owners who have retired and enjoy entertaining.  “Now that their kids are all grown up with their own families, the house has fewer occupants. The project therefore became about how to reinvigorate the house,” says Tan Hock Beng, Principal of Maps.  In addition to replacing many of the building materials with newer, longer lasting ones, a two-storey block was added. The façade designs were also updated, with one section being expanded with rectilinear protrusions to create more liveable space.  The major thing that…