The shortlist for the Best of the Decade The Living Space are a crucible of what we want, need, and what makes sense to our place
11 August, 2020
There are essential truths in terms of what we need from our living spaces. There are also changing stimuli and contextual variations that influence our desires and options for our homes. Nowhere is this more evident that in the shortlist for the INDE.Awards 2020 special category Best of the Decade | The Living Space – a crucible of what we want, what we need, and what makes sense to our place in the region.
Marking the start of a new decade and the twentieth anniversary of Indesign Media Asia Pacific, this award category celebrates homes that have redefined how we design for living in response to the stimuli of our times – be they social, cultural, material, economic or developmental. The category shortlist gathers 12 impressive projects from five countries: Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The diverse climates and sites, and the variety residential building typologies represented, make for a fascinating snapshot of regional living.
From a rural house bunkered down in the landscape, to a converted inner-city warehouse, to a climate-wise, public-private dwelling in an urbanising village, the shortlist shines a light on the many factors driving life in the Indo-Pacific region.
Says Aidan Mawhinney, Director of category partner Living Edge, “There’s been a lot of development happening in many parts of the Indo-Pacific region, and that has inevitably brought with it the need to reassess how we want to live. Our region has the benefit of a great opportunity to fuse traditional methods and new techniques to create something truly special for our place and time.”
A compelling example is provided by the Planter Box House in Kuala Lumpur – a low-energy house designed by formzero that celebrates a sustainable way of living. A series of planter boxes staggered up the facade allow the owner to grow his own food. The double-sided facade also serves as a filter that redefines spatial relationships between indoors and out. Today the house is part of a neighbourhood network for urban farming.
A project in suburban Sydney by James Garvan Architecture is an impressive example of how a tired 1960s apartment can be thoroughly redefined to better reflect contemporary priorities and lifestyles. At the Clovelly Apartment, the new amenity of improved functionality, light and views has vastly outweighed the effort of undertaking major structural, plumbing and electrical modifications for Garvan and his family.
“I think our expectations for living spaces in this new decade have expanded quite dramatically,” says INDE.Awards juror Eleena Jamil (Principal, Eleena Jamil Architects, Malaysia). “There is now a conscious need for spaces to be more inclusive of different ethoses, moralities and lifestyles. For example, criteria such as carbon neutrality, resistance against the effects of climate change, and new household compositions and human relationships will provide new stimuli for designing living spaces.”
She might well have been referring to the clever renovation of a thirty-year-old public housing flat in Singapore into a micro-home and studio. At PROJECT #13, STUDIO WILLS + Architects future-proofed a common ‘corridor’-type flat in a way that brings new functionality to the interior and re-examines the interface between the flat and its public corridor.
Jamil could just as easily been referring to the Blooming Bamboo Home prototype by H&P Architects in Vietnam – a flexible and flood-proof solution that can be built quickly by the occupants using simple construction techniques and low-cost bamboo; or the adaptive reuse of a former warehouse in Sydney – Redfern Warehouse by Ian Moore Architects, where the existing architectural character was respectfully preserved and contrasted with elements of contemporary living.
“What is so evident among the shortlisted projects is to see the finest expressions of creativity and personalisation applied,” says Mawhinney. “These projects highlight the very best in practice and innovative thinking across the region, and show the evidence of what’s important to us in the many corners of the Indo-Pacific.”
Residential environments have always been one of the key focal areas of Living Edge, and for Mawhinney, it is timely to reflect on the evolution of residential design – even through these pandemic days. “Over the years our products have found their way into countless incredible homes,” he says. “We’ve seen the skill and progressive attitude of architects and designers translated into homes that have constantly set new precedents for how we can live sensibly, sensitively and inspirationally. We are proud to show our continued support at these uncertain times and support our industry partners.”
There will be two winners in this category, decided by the Jury and by people’s choice vote. Who will win INDE.Gold? Join us and the region’s top winners at the free INDE.Awards 2020 Digital Gala this August 13. Register here.
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The 2021 INDE.Award Ambassadors represent architecture and design at its best throughout the Indo-Pacific. The Ambassadors originate from a variety of countries that include India, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and they are the definitive voice of the INDE.Awards in the region.