Open plan: Singapore’s Greja House is designed to promote interaction
Nestled in the small, private and quiet Jalan Greja residential enclave in Singapore, Greja House is the latest design by local architects Park and Associates. With the Sungei Bedok River as its backdrop, large openings with views out onto surrouding garden foliage and a striking green wall cleverly integrated into the project, this sleek glass house seems at one with nature’s touch.
The project is in clear dialogue with its surroundings, but it was also designed as an exploration of the fundamental role of a home; it was conceived to enhance communication between family members. Park and Associates’ interest in this inspired them to pay special attention to the internal flow of the house and its interior was kept largely open-plan. ’Getting spaces to bind together effortlessly creates a natural flow and movement that is not commonly found in houses today’, explains Design Director Christina Thean. ’Keeping most of the spaces unbounded by walls promotes visual comfort and allows more social interaction.’
The master bedroom on the second floor is a key example of this. On this level, most of the space is allocated to the bedroom; however, this opens up to a family room that consciously blends with the generous living below and the landscaping outside. This approach is consistent throughout. Most of the rooms in this semi-detached house open up and communicate, actively encouraging domestic synergy and increasing the opportunities for interactions between its inhabitants.
So, in Greja House, it is not the walls that define the spaces. Instead, the architects created a composition of interconnected voids. This is contained within the house’s overall glass box volume, defined by a sleek white frame. In areas where glass was not appropriate, the exterior shell’s light skin was crucial to the design. It was important that it didn’t create a strict boundary between the inside and outside, so at places it becomes a semi-transparent white powder coated metal mesh to bring daylight into the house but help maintain a degree of privacy.
To find the perfect material to use for this façade, the architect tested perforation patterns and densities intensely, to examine how different configurations affected the lighting, heat transmission and views. The same skin acts as a filter that helps with energy conservation and natural cooling, adding to the house’s environmental credentials. Finishes were carefully detailed, in order to achieve a streamlined, seamless and minimalist result.