Terrace Flat


Award Category: Interior Architecture

Architecture Firm:

Kaizen Architecture

Project Architect:

Ar. Melvin Keng

Year Completed:


Builder Firm:

Merger Pte Ltd

The pandemic saw a trend change within residential homes. Homes no longer function with one programme but may require evolving into multiple programmes like the workspace, the meditative space, the gym etc. It is with this background that the owner’s brief sought an Adaptive Home.

The concept is an experimentation of the open plan within the boundaries of a 3-bedroom public housing flat. The first strategy is to dissolve all the original boundaries within the unit that used to demarcate different rooms and programmes, to form a contiguous open space. It is then followed by using furniture layout, storage, and custom carpentry to delineate new programmes within this open plan. A centre plywood full-height carpentry is inserted into the middle of the unit and becomes the organising core from which daily residential programmes (e.g., sleeping, dining, storage, cooking etc.) extend.

Custom timber frame sliding glass doors were used to carve an internal garden veranda out of the interior space. A design move that references the owner’s childhood memory of once living in a terrace house, arriving home through an external porch and garden before entering his childhood home. These doors were placed at a slant to augment the perspective of one’s vantage point (as he enters the unit) towards the vista of natural landscaping beyond.

Both as an aesthetic expression and to reduce carbon footprint, the interiors were stripped off their final finishes, exposing the honesty of its substrates and embracing a Wabi-Sabi approach. All the surfaces were finished mostly in cement screed, whilst retaining the tool marks of the applicator. This is juxtaposed nicely against the hand-stained, natural plywood of the bespoke carpentry pieces in the home. M&E conduits with their manufacturing markings are left exposed but carefully routed to preserve intentionality in the design.

Jury Citation

In this post-Covid era, where work and leisure co-exist, this HDB home is adaptively reimagined as a living space fostered through distinctive materiality and tactility. The materials of choice comprised raw plywood and polished cement screed. The contiguous open plan utilises loose furniture, storage and custom carpentry to delineate new programmes. Aside from the owner’s day-to-day lifestyle, being able to accommodate social gatherings is another key driver for the interior design. For this, a multi-functional carpentry centrepiece became the organising core, enabling interaction for communal dining and conversations. The humble materials are balanced with fine and authentic detailing.