The Unfolding House


Award Category: Special Categories

Architecture Firm:

YY Architects with SKEW Collaborative and Pian Jian

Project Architect:

Ho Yanyoy

Year Completed:


Builder Firm:

Starluck Construction Pte Ltd

This A&A project is a house extension that accommodates a new family of four children and their parents. The living room of the new extension was carved out of a second-floor bedroom of the existing house, while the latter gains reciprocally from a new kitchen and laundry room. Symbiotic spaces were developed to ensure that privacy is maintained for the new family while giving new shared amenities for both families.

There were productive aesthetic and building envelope constraints in this “Good-Class-Bungalows” (GCB) Area project. The post-modern ornamentation of the original house became the conceptual reference for the design of this extension, envisioned as an outgrowth of the walls of the original house. Rather than having crenulations as applied “ornamentation”, the walls of the extension were designed as a language of folds to define new rooms and courtyards. Both floors of the new construction can be read as spaces of a ribbon-like extension of the original wall, with the second floor floating off the first to keep it tectonically distinct and legible. The extension was finished with off-white stucco to give continuity to the original house.

The play on the depth and layers of the wall was further emphasized by openable sun screens that provide cross-ventilation for every room. Made from 100% recyclable engineered wood, the sun screens cleave to and separate from the “folded” masonry wall to create a myriad of layered effects – from shielded terraces and balconies that are effectively outdoors and private, to courtyards that extend indoors with glazed flooring to bring natural light deeper into the house, and to rooms that “feel” outdoors because large window apertures and sun screens dematerialize to bring the landscape in. The 5.5m high sun screens are performative and animated, giving users the ability to manipulate and regulate different relationships between domestic spaces and the landscape.

Jury Citation

The jury finds this addition and alterations project, with its new façade, creates an interesting design dialogue between the addition and the existing neo-classical building. By adding this new climatically responsive skin, a threshold space between the new façade and the old house is created, housing skylights and void spaces that enable daylighting. The elegance in the detailing of the verandah and bookshelves is noteworthy.