Playing on the idea of duality, Kite Studio Architecture designs two homes on one large plot for two brothers and their growing family.
2 February, 2017
This twin-house development along Wilkinson Road belongs to the Lim brothers who not only look alike, but work together and are set to one day take over their father’s property development and construction business, Soilbuild Group Holdings.
Their choice to live together is a clear indication of the bond they share, but while the properties look similar from the outside, upon closer inspection, one realises that they quite different. They have, in fact, been built around the concept of Duality.
Seeing that the brothers had quite different personalities and tastes, Khai Saharom, Principal Architect of Kite Studio Architecture, conceived this development as a ‘jigsaw’ – from form to material to spatial configuration and in response to context and brief.
“Each house fits into and complements the other in terms of function, massing and spatial layering. Openings are strategised to frame each other, reflecting spatial configuration and the need for privacy. The articulation of design is a reflection of the owners – two brothers who are physically much alike but are very different in terms of personalities,” Saharom explains
One formally enters the house by heading up a flight of stairs on either end of the property, and onto a spacious shared pool pavilion that functions as a space for entertaining friends and business associates; the elevated ground level then allows for a large basement carpark with private access entrances for the owners.
The house on the left belongs to the elder brother, his wife and their young daughter, while the younger brother resides in the one on the right with his wife. Both houses are approximately 630 square metres in size and sit on a site area spanning 1,747.8 square metres. Each is conceived as a long, narrow and low volume with respect to the streetscape.
Given the lack of good vistas, the project has been built as an inward-looking development with a large common courtyard for the two families to come together. A pool lies to the left, and a green lawn to the right. “Everything is ordered around this central courtyard,” says Saharom, adding that this communal space is crucial to the idea of inter-framing, where each house frames and provides a backdrop for the other. Reflecting the preferences of the owners, the house on the left features timber-clad exteriors, veneer panelled interiors and warm tones, while the house on the right has textured stone clad exteriors and cool tones.
The brothers may be close but privacy was important. Saharom has placed the master bedrooms for each house at opposing ends of the estate. The windows or balcony of one house also faces a wall on the other and so forth, and this interplay of mass and void, transparent and opaque, private and public between the residences enforces this notion of duality.
In anticipation of a growing family, each house has four rooms, and generous living, entertaining and dining/kitchen areas. Saharom was also responsible for the interior design and specified most of the furniture – including designs from his Chrysanthemum range. Shelves were specifically detailed to accommodate the younger brother’s collectibles. In this west-facing house, examples of the firm’s response to tropicality can be found in the double volume gallery space, which has a vacuum to remove the rising hot air. Also, where possible rooms do not face directly west and if they do, are behind solid wall.
In the elder brother’s home, rooms allow for cross-ventilation where possible, and sliding doors open out fully to the patio and pool. From the beginning, storage was strategically designed to make the most efficient use of space. “For example, we determined all the things that needed deeper storage much earlier,” says Saharom. “We put a lot of effort in these little things that people may not fully appreciate at first,” he concludes.
Photography by Rayden OJ Pictures
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