Wallflower Architecture + Design / Secret Garden House

Located in Singapore and completed in 2015. This 1010 square meter contemporary family home with a luxurious tropical design and secret garden hidden from prying eyes was designed by Wallflower Architecture + Design.

Secret Garden House by Wallflower Architecture + Design

“The Secret Garden House, designed by Singapore based Wallflower Architecture + Design, is situated in Singapore’s Good Class Bungalow zone of Bukit Timah area. The owner wanted to have a contemporary family home with a luxurious tropical design, so they could build it themselves and showcase the capabilities of their construction company.

The house sits on an L-shape site with a narrow frontage and on a slight rise. The bulk of the land is further back hidden from the main road and surrounded with neighbours. Most local home buyers would see this uneven terrain and narrow frontage as a disadvantage, but the architect sees the opportunity to use the terrain to camouflage the bulk of a large house and to create a secret garden hidden from prying eyes.

To accommodate the functional requirements of the owner and yet not to over build on the site, the architect tucked more than one third of the house into the ground exposing only less than two-third of the house. The architect set the terra firma one level above the road to create more privacy and result in greater amount of flat ground for garden.

Drive into the house through a granite cave entrance and visitors are welcomed into the underground lobby. A steel and glass spiral staircase lead visitors up to the living room. The owner had like the proposed idea of detached living & dining areas surrounded by pools and garden. The entire ground floor is designed as a natural free flowing space between indoor and outdoor, soft-scape and hard-scape. Trees were planted heavily around the perimeter of the site to form a very private enclosure, allowing the ground plain architecture to be open and transparent without owner’s privacy being compromised.

Above ground, the house comprises two rectangular travertine blocks sitting on slender pilot is connected by a bridge on the top floor. A ribbon window cuts around the travertine stone façade. The adjustable vertical timber louvres lined strategically around the band of ribbon window shield the glazing and regulate how much sunlight reaches the interior, as well as ensuring privacy when required.

Social gathering could also spill to the roof top that houses the outdoor living deck and roof garden, looking out to the Bukit Timah hill, the tallest point in Singapore.

Simple design principles of orientation, thermal mass, sun-screening and natural ventilation are fundamental to the design. The architect uses modern material and contemporary design language but it is designed as a house in the tropics. Every floor including the basement is designed to be cross-ventilated. Breeze passes through timber slats from basement lobby to the rear sunken garden courtyard. Above ground, the bedroom blocks are kept passively cool by layers of masonry, air-cavity, travertine stone cladding, roof garden and pergolas. Windows are protected by low-emission glass and timber sunscreens that filter the strong tropical sunlight into a pleasant play of light and shadow on the interior. Skylights create ever-changing shafts of light that animate the experience within. The whole house can be closed down against the dramas of tropical rain storm or the haze of rain-forest fire.

The result in this case is a very pleasant tropical house.”

Photos courtesy of Wallflower Architecture + Design.