February 23, 2010 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
The owner of this urban garden house expressed his dream about living in a “forest” setting amidst the urbanized city of Singapore and his architect, Chang Yong Ter of Chang Architects, interpreted the dream. In lieu of adding the landscaping after completion of the house, this one was conceived as a three-dimensional landscape installation, whereby the spaces were then placed into the landscape.
One moves through a series of interchangeable rooms that fit into a terrace plot with a 2-storey high retaining wall at the rear that becomes a pebbled waterfall opening up to the sky. Below, a rainwater-collecting pond envelops the living area.
Within and throughout the house, a rich variety of unique urban garden scenarios have been implemented: a kitchen entrance that is a grove of trees and a 2-storey internal enclosure of vertical living walls of fern that extend into the living spaces with moss and pebble entrances to bedrooms.
The design has a living, organic quality, where plants grow and mature, and the scent of wet earth fills the air. The layout and utilization of plant and water elements maintain a cool microclimate within the house, reducing the need for air-conditioning and artificial lighting.
In sync with nature, the client’s dream has evolved into a living house where the boundaries of indoor and out blend together to form a green haven, a verdant urban oasis.