Photography by Daniel Sheriff / Pencil Office
In collaboration with Architect of Record HK Hia & Associates, TEP Structural Engineers, PQS Consultants & DMS Consulting Engineers
Located on the flat reclaimed landscape in the Singapore Straits, the Stereoscopic House is sandwiched between the ocean (a ‘natural’ view), a golf course (an ‘artificial’ view), and two neighboring units that are just two meters away on the left and right. The architecture manipulates the relationship between atmosphere, water- and landscape, and view through four levels of optical and thermal calibration. A tight sight, close adjacent neighbors, and demands for area drove a stacked approach to living and looking with architecture as a lens to both.
The main living level, situated on top of the basement plinth, is surrounded translucent channel glass and transparent sliding windows. When so desired, the entire wall can be opened, allowing the inside to transform into an exterior space. The living and dining areas front the sea, offering a panoramic view while being protected by the overhanging volume above.
The second and third storeys ‘float above’ the living level and are encapsulated by a timber-surfaced tube. Within the tube are five bedrooms that are isolated from the adjacent neighbors, while precisely framing dramatic views of the ocean beyond in a stereoscopic manner. Two bedrooms on the second floor look to the sea, while also facing each other across a shared terrace that bifurcates the house. Two additional bedrooms share space within the house proper, one facing a golf course view through a screened verandah, and one embedded into the center of the house.
In response to the tropical climate of Singapore, a layer of ironwood timber is wrapped over and merges the roof, side elevations, and ceiling of the upper levels while minimizing solar radiation transfer. In a herringbone configuration, the wrapper ventilates and breathes through its surface. Combined with perforated aluminum screens, the wrapper operates as both an optical and performative veil, calibrating view and temperature.
Low-E glazing, solar water heating, extensive cross ventilation, rain harvesting systems, and evaporative cooling are combined with the typologies of the colonial verandah, Singapore shophouse courtyard, and Malay breezeway in a composition of form and environmental function—a reinterpretation of the Vanna Venturi House where front, back, and sides all take on differing configurations in response to meaning and symbol as well as performance and experience.