Affectionately known as the Dual House, this 2-in-1 home is a sensitive response to the way a multigenerational family unit desires to live together under one roof.
15 June 2021
Home Type: Landed home
Floor Area: 9,192sqft
Text by Janice Seow
Multigenerational living in Singapore is commonplace. Whether in small apartments or larger houses, the challenge is always finding that balance between the private and communal – spaces that meet individual needs, and ones that foster meaningful interactions and bring the family together.
The owners of this property in Sunset Heights have had a long history with the home. The family lived on the plot years ago, but moved out when the children studied abroad. Thereafter, the original house was leased out as a childcare facility for several years, before the owners decided to reoccupy the plot.
In this homecoming, the owners were looking to enjoy their retirement in their golden years, and for it to also serve as a home for their daughter’s young family.
The Design Abode and its architectural arm, WKL Architects, worked on this project to rebuild the corner plot property to meet the client’s current need for a multigenerational home. The initial planning involved relocating the entrance from the lower corner of the plot to the upper corner, allowing the garden to be maximised across the frontage.
As a multigenerational residence, the designers have sensitively designed the Dual House to cater for privacy and communal living; for it to function as two separate households but also as a single, intergenerational family home.
The designers have capitalised on the hilltop topography to create a split level. To give each family unit their space and privacy, they’ve segmented the house into two wings with the parents’ quarters in one wing and the daughter’s family in the other. The stair core and courtyard tie the two wings together and enhance cross ventilation across each wing. The basement is also ventilated via the central courtyard. Communal spaces occupy the porous ground level and is the opportunity for all generations of the family to come together.
Careful attention was also given to gradually tier the platforms to minimise the impact between the upper and lower levels.
The living quarters in the level above is accessed via a doorway to each wing from the stair core, and such that you could shut off the wing entirely from the rest of the house. Each wing contains a master, a lounge and two ancillary rooms.
Externally, these quarters are sheltered all round by a verandah, with perforated brick and aluminium screens that respond to the sun angles – being more porous along the northern face and less perforated along the eastern and western face. Internally, the quarters face the central courtyard where bay windows are strategically placed to provide interaction across the split levels.
There are various other opportunities for the family to spend time in each other’s company. The attic not only houses a spare bedroom in one wing, but also a sheltered roof terrace in the other wing that provides ample space for shared activities.
To retain memories of the original family home and offer a sense of familiarity, elements were borrowed from the quaint old house, particularly the brick screens inspired by the distinct faced brick facade of the former home, herringbone timber flooring, and geometric steel balustrades.
For the owners, this is a home that’s still comfortably familiar, where they can relive the life they had been used to. At the same time, it now embraces a new generation, allowing the family to continue growing together.
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