Open House by Formwerkz Architects
Category: Residential Projects
Design Award and Building of the Year

Open House by Formwerkz Architects
Open House by Formwerkz Architects

This year’s top winner is architect Gwen Tan’s home. A founder of Formwerkz Architects, Tan lives with her husband, son and his two grannies. The home is a lush, green sanctuary not only for its human inhabitants – but also for trees and birds.

The numerous trees in front of the property, as well as in its backyard, attract a myriad of birds including a flock of green parrots every evening. Beyond the hidden timber door at the entrance is a courtyard where a 10m tall Memphat tree provides filtered light from the glass roof.

The first storey comprises the living, dining and kitchen. A 13m-long lap pool forms the centrepiece of the indoor atrium on the second storey. “Skylights” built into the floor of the pool allows daylight penetration into the kitchen below.

The house enjoys an unblocked expanse in front, as it is shielded by a black ash wood and metal screen of varying porosity. High porosity above the pool enables breezes to move through various levels and cool down the spaces.

The day-lit atriums between party walls acts as amplifier of sounds from within and from outside where the family members can easily talk across the floors or hear what is going on around. Weather changes, be it a cloudy day or a bright sunny one, are felt from within the atrium. Even the sound and smell of rain hitting the road comes right in.

House Off Cluny by RT+Q Architects
Category: Residential Projects
Design Award

House off Cluny by RT+Q
House off Cluny by RT+Q

Located near Botanic Gardens, the design of this two-storey bungalow is a partial courtyard scheme where the living quarters are centred on a large swimming pool which also serves as a water feature.

The three-sided courtyard opens towards a large garden. The house has three wings, the first housing the living quarters which appear to float above the swimming pool and the second wing has a long, granite-cladded wall which runs from the front of the house all the way to the rear of the site. The third wing is where the living room is.

The house is also visually and functionally defined by two long walls. The main one, which is part of the second wing, serves as a backdrop for the swimming pool, as well as separates the semi-private zone from the private family room and bedrooms. The other wall intersects this perpendicularly and separates the bedrooms from the family room, expressed as a series of bookshelves that end at the pool shower room.

Secret Garden House by Wallflower
Category: Residential Projects
Honourable Mention


Tucked away in Bukit Timah, is this house, belonging to the owners of a construction company. With its unassuming frontage, it is easy to miss the home, but the owners are happy to have it this way.

Designed by Wallflower Architecture + Design, and naturally built by the homeowners themselves, the house sits on an L-shaped site, and on uneven terrain. Wallflower saw the opportunity in using the sloping terrain to camouflage the bulk of a large house, and the lushness of a secret garden to screen it from prying eyes.

Visitors enter the house via a granite cave entrance leading to an “underground” lobby, before going up a steel and glass spiral staircase which leads them to the living room.

The house has two rectangular blocks that are perpendicular to each other but connected on the second storey by an enclosed bridge. The front block comprises the car porch in the basement, a large water feature by the living room on the first storey, and the master bedroom on the second storey.

In the basement of the second block is the entertainment room, with the kitchen and dining rooms on the first storey which overlook a lap pool. There are three more bedrooms and a study on the second storey, and up in the attic, a roof garden stretches across both blocks.

While some may like to have their living and dining areas together, the owners preferred the idea of detaching theirs and surrounding these by pools and gardens. Trees are planted heavily around the perimeter to form a very private enclosure, giving the home its name.

All areas of the home have plenty of cross-ventilation, even in the basement. Above ground, the bedrooms are kept passively cool by layers of masonry, air cavities, travertine stone cladding, roof gardens and pergolas.

Adapted from The Business Times.