Wind Vault House, Singapore, Singapore
Wallflower Architecture + Design

The brief was for a house that stayed cool passively and maximized to accommodate a three generation family. Our design considerations: the proximity of neighbors on the east and west, the daily sun path and the prevailing winds.

In response, the house is conceptualized as a raised concrete tube pushed to the urban guideline envelope limits, whose open ends have a north-south orientation. Cool, southerly prevailing breezes blow in from the nearby coast-line. All rooms have walls that side either east or west, and are environmentally transparent facing north or south. The tubular structure resists east west heat gain thanks to the substantial mass of the reinforced concrete but directs airflow through the open north south axis. The north and south facade are filtered by timber screens and their contribution is multifold. Being adjustable, they manage bedroom privacy, help catch and direct the breeze and are the first layer of glare and solar heat reduction for the spaces behind.

Large parties also feature regularly for the client. The first storey is deliberately uncluttered and contiguous to dissolve hierarchical delineation so that gatherings naturally spread evenly in the expanse, with only furniture suggesting spatial function. Perception of the first storey space extends into the garden, the edged by a soldier-line of narrow polyalthia trees along the fringes of the plot. Architecturally, the trees provide a function no man-made wall is able to. It shields the house from neighboring windows and its narrow footprint allows sunlight to reach the grass, while freeing up space on the lawn for play and parties. The tines of polyalthias perform as evaporative fingers, combing the air of some of its heat each time the wind blows. The swimming pool is placed centrally between garden and living, acting as a focal centre and another evaporative cooling surface.

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