Mandai Courtyard House by Atelier M+A
Setting amidst the nature reserve that bounds the Upper Seletar reservoir, the bungalow at Mandai area is bestowed with the serenity and repose rarely found in the island of buzzling Singapore.
In the island where every inch of land is dear, the owner’s brief for a single-storey bungalow house is unusual, and reflects a nonchalant attitude towards the mainstream practice of maximising the allowable buildable area granted by the authority.
The house is designed in an orthogonal ‘doughnut’ shape, with the interior spaces surrounding a central open courtyard. The ‘doughnut’ configuration allows the owner to enjoy a secured outdoor space inside the building during the evenings after work, while the roof laid with timber deck above the living/dining space is an ‘outdoor living/dining space’ during parties and gathering.
The living/dining space make up the front of the house that opens up to the road along the front boundary. A wall-to-wall timber deck strip aligns each side of the living/dining space where one could sit to enjoy the front garden and the courtyard, not unlike the ‘engawa’ concept of the traditional Japanese house, which is a transitory space between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’. Full-height glass sliding panels open the interior and the central courtyard to the public unapprehensively to blend the exterior into the interior. Natural light abounds the interior and constant breeze of fresh air is a given for the abode.
An overhanging canopy floats in front of the entrance door to create a weightless statement in contrast to the grounded house form. The white colour with black colour such as ‘gargoyles’ and window frames as accentuation is a tribute towards the black and white colonial bungalows which are significant in Singapore.