THE COURTYARD HOUSE, Kew Drive, Singapore
FORMWERKZ ARCHITECTS

The courtyard house is located in a three-storey mixed-landed residential district, on the eastern part of Singapore. It is built for a multi-generational family who seek a communal way of living but require privacy, screened from the prying eyes of surrounding neighbours. While inspired by the Si He Yuan courtyard house, the project seeks to re-adapt the vernacular typology found in the northern regions of China, to a detached house typology in an urbanised tropical context.

The massing, comprising of two blocks in a north-south orientation, delineate the site with a front garden, the central courtyard where all the rooms looked into and a back garden. The public and private realms are layered in a spatial procession from the street. Circulation within the house circumambulate the courtyard on all floors.

The main spaces are organized around this central, outdoor atrium where a lap pool runs parallel to one edge. The ground floor is finished entirely in hone travertine without any drops to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, unifying the entire ground floor as a singular, seamless, communal space. The perforated concrete wall allows for air-flow and glimpses of the garden beyond but shields the western sun and its adjacent neighbors.

The house expresses the relationship between periphery and core. Similar to the traditional courtyard typology, the inner core is a private, secure and well-ventilated outdoor space intended as an extension of the family space. While the periphery is surrounded in dense tropical foliage, the courtyard is tranquil and contemplative. Through a series of spatial appendixes of bridges, wall perforations, pool extensions, shower stalls, stairs and bay windows that penetrate the two side walls that bound the inner sanctum, the residents gets to experience the tropical garden on the periphery.

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