Genome Architects

Genome Architects is an architectural practice whose interest in design transcends scale and program. The practice’s portfolio consists of diverse local private and public sector projects, premised on people-centric experiences conveyed cognitively and sensorially in the wonderment of possible environments. 

It focuses on finding appropriate methodologies for design thinking and materiality to facilitate the living out of good design. Innovating systems and creating bespoke aesthetics are not mutually exclusive in our world.

Its works are strong, imageable visualisations of its clients’ briefs, which it helps shape into individual expressions and brand identities, using a combined vehicle of art and science. Its work is about expressing the everyday essential encounters with space, light and nature, and all of its casual intelligence and wit uniquely through rigorous architectural design process.

Genome Architects

portfolio

Bricks form the anchor feature of this semi-detached house by Genome Architects in Bukit Timah

Bricks form the anchor feature of this semi-detached house by Genome Architects in Bukit Timah

Piers of bricks on the side façade, two sets of staircases and generous views of the sky. These are the major highlights of a semi-detached house in Bukit Timah that was recently completed by Genome Architects. Motley as they sound, each in fact goes towards mitigating the conundrum of a long and narrow site in a densely packed neighbourhood.  Specifically, the 370sqm plot measures 46m by 7.6m, making it almost as long as an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Hemmed in on two sides by neighbours who have maximised their GFA, the house also has no views to speak of. While the obvious route would have been plenty of well-landscaped internal courtyards and planter boxes lined with evergreens, the brief dictated to shy against that due to “no green fingers”.  Those familiar with Genome’s work will know that none of this would have fazed its Founding Director, Wu Yen Yen. Fond of leading her team through phases where they test different ideas in residential projects, she took the opportunity to experiment with introducing bricks as a design feature. This led to it…

Q&A with Wu Yen Yen, Genome Architects: Design is the visualisation of values and positions

Q&A with Wu Yen Yen, Genome Architects: Design is the visualisation of values and positions

You’ve said before that you go through phases where you test different ideas in residential projects. What are examples of ideas you’ve tested and can you share how they turned out? There are some design ideas that fit and benefit certain projects and hence make it worthwhile to consider. For example, we have designed staircases that do not repeat in the same position on different floors, so that the relationship of floor to floor via the stairs changes the way people perceive and use the adjacent space. A staircase which spatially combines two floors, placed next to a kitchen, is different from when it is placed next to a balcony. Another investigation that has been ongoing in our office is the development of monsoon windows for the tropics, where we are able to select and gradate between the extent of rain, wind, sun and security desired, beyond generic double layers of glass windows and louvers. Our windows try to address permutability and selection, so that, for example, you can leave the window open even when it rains, and are not…

The curved façade of Movement House by Genome Architects hints that it is no ordinary residence

The curved façade of Movement House by Genome Architects hints that it is no ordinary residence

There is so much to share about Movement House by Genome Architects that it is hard to decide where to begin. For instance, there are the unusual rounded edges of the exterior of the upper floors, a ground floor design that takes inspiration from an open garden deck and the tango of light and space on level two.  Far from arbitrary, these features were introduced by Wu Yen Yen – who leads the practice – after much thought and consideration. “We go through phases where we test different ideas in projects. We were commissioned to design this terrace house when we were investigating curved glass,” she shares.  In doing so, she questioned why residences tend to have monotonous, flat facades. “How do we introduce dynamic movement into them?” she wondered. Her eventual response: go the route of curved volumes with edges that eschew right angles.  On to one section she overlaid a screen made of close-set vertical strips of aluminium coloured to resemble timber. This immediately gives the façade a warmth and texture, making it stand out from the row…