Twists and Turns

The rooftop turf and generously landscaped space creates a lush and cooling effect.

Shaping a home around the presence of a matured tree creates a unique yet seamless structure.

Images courtesy of Edward Hendricks and Patrick Bingham-Hall

Interesting shapes dominate this single-story bungalow, from its long, triangulated sliver of land to its twisted shape designed to accommodate a matured Tembusu tree which sits on the property, as much a resident of the home as its owners.

Known by many names – the Lien Residence, the Zig Zag House, the House Around a Tree – the home is designed as a seamless, singular form, which is nonetheless comprised of three distinct wings which each house an entertainment zone, family zone and private master zone.

Ministry of Design, which undertook both the architecture and interior design for the dwelling, took full advantage of the relatively open brief, which specified the number of rooms and functions, including the swimming pool, but provided no further design input.

The slightly raised level creates the effect that the home is gently floating above the ground, emphasized by the subtle lighting effect.

Furthermore, as the home was designed and built from scratch, MOD was able to exercise greater freedom by conceptualising a unique, abstract shape and inserting courtyards and corridors in the ‘in-between’ spaces created by the twisted form of the structure.

Sliding doors blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Connecting the separate wings, the courtyards serve the practical function of welcoming natural light into all parts of the home, including the basement service areas, while the internal corridors form transitional and functional spaces that also encourage cross ventilation, keeping the interiors cool and protected from harsh sunlight without sacrificing illumination. At night, the home takes on an otherworldly effect, with concealed lighting that creates a lighter-than-air illusion – the entire home is slightly raised off the ground.

The clean, homogenous interior is serene with warm timbre flooring, recessed lighting and subtly concealed built-in storage that echoes the white walls. Despite its uniformity, the interiors are designed to create “different zones and indoor/outdoor environments though visual and circulatory connectivity” said Colin Seah, Design Director of MOD. Sliding doors along the entire length of the home open directly onto wooden decks and into the garden, providing as little distinction between indoor and outdoor spaces as possible.

With a total floor area of 600sq m on a plot of 1,500sq m, the spacious home also allows for separate living and dining rooms, library, study, TV lounge, indoor and outdoor family rooms, a BBQ and outdoor dining area, and swimming pool.

Whitewashed walls with generous greenery make the outdoor areas an extension of the interiors, with its welcoming deck and pool area and well-landscaped garden surrounded by trees for privacy. To top it all off – literally – planting strips cover the rooftop, creating an even wider expanse of green space that not only reduces radiated heat but also serves to harmonize the home with its surroundings.