BINCHANG RISE RESIDENCE

Size:      300 sqm
Status:  On hold

This project explores the issues in multi-generation terrace housing in the Singapore context. 

In Singapore, middle class young couples are also increasingly returning to their parents home. With the increasing opportunity cost of staying on your own, these young families return to stay in their parents home. Obvious benefits for co-staying with parents are many, including help to take care of children, economic benefits of rental income, reduced housework, possibility of sharing domestic helpers, etc. This arrangement also benefits the parents who enjoy the company of their children and grandchildren. In their old age, it will also help to have someone to take care of them.

The problem however with existing houses is that they are not designed for such multigenerational families in mind. Problems can arise when people's territorial instinct to have their own space emerge. Ultimately it is not beneficial for young couples who should leave and cleave to set up their own family unit, to remain "under" their parents. Tensions can also arise from the difference in opinions, preferences, lifestyles, etc. These reasons can lead to the young family moving out completely to avoid conflicts. 

Our proposal tries to mitigate this desire for connectedness and separation in multi-generation living spaces. While this is easy to resolve when there is large plots of land, the challenge increases when all these have to happen in a small landed property such as a terrace house. Lack of GFA and mere physical space makes it difficult to have two full comfortably sized units placed together.

To overcome this, the spaces are categorised as either separated or shared. Two distinct living units comprising living rooms and bedrooms allow each unit to retreat into their own private space. We created 3rd space, which is a buffer space shared by both units, and which will promote interactions. We identified the dining space as a shared space, as typically families meet during meal times. This dining space is specially designed so that it can become separated from either unit during functions. For example, when the young couples have a party, sliding screens facing the elderly parents can be closed to protect their privacy, or vice versa. Voids are introduced into the plans to create separation of the units while also providing visual connections between both living spaces.

The elderly parents' living unit are placed on the ground floor to let them get around without needing to climb steps. A private garden and verandah is provided for them to enjoy the outdoor environment.

The young couples' living unit is larger with bedrooms for children of their own. Since their living space is not on the ground floor and they do not get the garden, we provided green walls which introduce greenery into their unit. The living room is screened from the main road by metal mesh screens that are covered with green climbers. Metal screens cover the other glazed portions, providing shading and privacy. 

The shell of the young couple's unit is made of a folding off-form concrete skin which is bent to provide space for an attic and to allow rainwater to run off. The elderly parents' unit below is finished in marble and glass, contrasting with the raw finishes of the upper floor. The 3rd Space is expressed in timber throughout, with the dining space celebrated as a timber pavilion. The entire apartment is tropical and can be naturally ventilated. The occupants will enjoy plenty of light, air, shade and landscape.

 

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