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ip:li Architects Go Skyward In A Quest For Space

Elevated on columns and responding thoughtfully to its climate, this house by ip:li Architects won the Building of the Year accolade in the SIA Architectural Design Awards 2019.

BY Alexandra Longstaff

12 November, 2019

Creating a home with cooling indoor-outdoor flow is essential in Singapore’s hot, humid climes, as is a lush garden oasis to recline in. Kasai Road by ip:li Architects is a true masterpiece when it comes to adapting and owning its environment.

kasai road ipli architects

The homeowner – an award-winning creative director in advertising – and his wife had been working around the globe for the past ten years. Feeling the call for home, they wanted a place to call their own, one where they could enjoy the tropics and host the many friends they had met far and wide.

kasai road ipli architects

There is enormous joy to be found living in the tropics: open spaces, a connection to the outdoors, tropical vegetation, and an indoor-outdoor flow. These were elements the owners wanted to weave into their new abode, working with Tay Yew of ip:li Architects to bring their ideas to fruition.


There is enormous joy to be found living in the tropics: open spaces, a connection to the outdoors, tropical vegetation, and an indoor/outdoor lifestyle.


The plot, however, had other ideas in mind. Land being scarce in Singapore, meant this site would need some innovative architecture, otherwise this couple would be left with just a three-metre sliver of garden space – not what the homeowners had in mind when wanting to embrace the outdoors.

ip:li Architects thought outside the box – or more accurately – above it. The design saw them lift the entire design upwards to create an open landscaped ground floor that is both sheltered from above, yet open from the sides. It’s a home that capitalises on space with absolute grace.

kasai road ipli architects

Not only did this genius architectural move provide a much-desired connection to the outdoors, but it gave the homeowners the space they were craving for hosting and entertaining. It also had the added bonus of shielding the outdoor area from a noisy road and any nosy onlookers to the front of the property.

“We wanted to create a house with a rich and varied experience as one travels through it.”

– Tay Yew


“The house has two parts,” explains Tay, “the upper and the lower. We used concrete/cement as the single material that defines the lower part of the house. But we needed it to feel natural and to blend in with the landscape. The walls and columns were created using board marked off-form concrete. The concrete picks up the textures and imperfections of the timber form-work beautifully.”

kasai road ipli architects

A standout feature in the home is of course the grand staircase, which sets the tone for the curvature found throughout the space. Actually a figure-of-eight, the staircase touches various spaces throughout before finally opening up via skylights at the top. Its ventilation system draws air in from the bottom, before allowing hot air to head skywards.

kasai road ipli architects

“We wanted to create a house with a rich and varied experience as one travels through it,” says Tay. “The outdoor living area is expansive and bright, it transitions to the staircase core, which is enclosed featuring light filtering in from small skylights at the top. The space opens up again when one walks into bright living spaces from the stair core.”

kasai road ipli architects

The home is undoubtedly quite the creative experience; cleverly thought-out, beautifully crafted, and expertly adapted to its small site and tropical climes.

kasai road ipli architects

Photography by Studio Periphery


Kasai Road

Custom-made black forest marble dining and coffee tables: Elite Stones Singapore
‘Grace’ dining chairs, ‘Mondrian’ sofa and coffee table, ‘Mad’ armchair: Poliform
Dedon ‘Mbrace’ rocking chair: Xtra
‘Frog’ chair: Living Divani
Iskandar Jalil pottery
Custom-made cushions: Long March Furnishings Singapore
Kartell ‘Kabuki’ standing lamps: Million Lighting Singapore
Artemide ‘Melampo’ standing lamps: Million Lighting Singapore
‘Oda’ floor lamp: Pulpo
‘Poseidon’ hanging lamps: Cattelan
‘Metropolitan’ armchair: B&B Italia

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