Metre Architects

The meanings of “metre” range from the quantifiable (a unit of measure), to the perceptual (rhythm in poetry and music), a spectrum of content that is also embodied by architecture. The Chinese word for “metre” has the same pronunciation as “rice”, and the inclusion of the rice symbol in the logo “※” of Asian origin signifies the context of the practice. Since its inception in January 2018, Metre Architects has been on a constant search for spatial patterns that renew its understanding of function and aesthetics, such as the design for the Gradient Space project, which won several awards, including an Honourable Mention in the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Awards, the most prestigious award implemented by SIA to promote design excellence.

Metre Architects

portfolio

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…

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,…

Q&A with Woon Chung Yen, Metre Architects: The success of my designs often depend on how far I can reject tried-and-tested spatial templates

Q&A with Woon Chung Yen, Metre Architects: The success of my designs often depend on how far I can reject tried-and-tested spatial templates

Since you founded Metre Architects, you have been on a constant search for spatial patterns that renew your understanding of function and aesthetics. Can you share some of your findings?  The act of designing can be defined simply as finding new ways to synthesise function and aesthetics, such as: I then found that the success of my designs often depended on how far I could reject tried-and-tested spatial templates, where the novelty embodies aesthetics, and yet enhances functionality. We, as designers, contribute to the built world at large, if, and only if, we can come up with something that looks and works better than existing solutions. You have a good mix of houses, condominium apartments and public housing in your portfolio. What would you say are the key differences between designing for each of these typologies?  Houses are generally different from condominium and public housing apartments in terms of size and ceiling height. Another difference is that for houses, I often get to design both the architecture and its interiors, while for apartments I focus mainly on the interiors. But…

A terraced tower in a unit in Hillion Residences makes for a brilliant small condo design idea by Metre Architects

A terraced tower in a unit in Hillion Residences makes for a brilliant small condo design idea by Metre Architects

OCTOBER SPECIAL | Small apartment interior design series, story 3 of 3 For civic authorities, sociologists, urban planners and architects alike, answering the evergreen question of how much domestic space one needs gained even more currency during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Entire families were confined for the greater part of the day within the literal four walls of their homes – where they were expected to not just sleep, work, play, raise and educate children, and socialise, but also to hold on to fraying tempers and unravelling mental issues.  Those pressures notwithstanding, these designers would still argue that the desire for large homes – especially freestanding ones that push into precious agricultural land – is economically, socially and environmentally unsustainable. It is far more effective, they say, to buy small and harness imaginative architectural and interior design solutions to create additional space. In this context, what is remarkable about Gradient Space – a 463sqft one-bedroom apartment in Hillion Residences, a particularly leafy part of Bukit Panjang – is that both its ideology and execution took place in 2018 before the pandemic.…