This house, constructed in 2012 in Jalan Angin Laut and designed by Hyla Architects, was dubbed 'bridge over water'; a homage to the walkway traversing the pool and providing entry into the home. The minimalist design of the house is characterised by clean lines, interrupted by a striking spiral staircase that cuts through the space, providing a point of contrast and moment of connection. The spaces, whilst separated over various levels, are held together by this vertical element.
Lifted above the ground plane, the house gives way to a unique journey into the interior, by passing over water. The significance given to this transition, between inside and out, draws strong parallels to the notion of threshold in Japanese architecture. As light permeates the house, filtered by various elements, it again draws the relationship between inside and out, time and space.
Upon first impressions the minimalist design of the house is characterised by clean lines, a cantilevered entry way and the use of high quality materials, fittings and furnishings. Like a beacon lighting the area in the night sky, the architects have successfully created an icon for this local neighbourhood. Together with the minimal landscaping of the single palm tree and medium lying bushes, the house seems impressive but also modest from the exterior. However, don't let the house's exterior fool you for what amazing beauty lies inside.
Wow! Already as you can see the spiral staircase, leading to a guest room and gym, evokes images of Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye; as one ascends, incrementally along the curved path, there is a dialogue with the other forms of circulation in the home. Cutting up through all levels of the house; it is set at a tangent to the bridge over the swimming pool, and is visible to and from the linear interior stairwell. This arrangement provides moments of connection; the residents of the house can experience their movement and activity in relation to each other. In a world, where we are becoming more attached digitally and less attached in a physical realm, these moments of very real and visible connection can provide a reassuring comfort of our relationship to one another.
The stairwell is not the only thing here that evokes images of Villa Savoye; the elevation of the house from the earth, with the cantilevered roof deck over the swimming pool allows for a continuity of the outdoor space below. This achieves a feeling of lightness and solidity, simultaneously. Following suit, the main entrance to the house is lifted above the ground level, creating a clear and extended transition between inside and out. This threshold, or moment of crossing from outside to inside, is further emphasised by by the bridge over the pool, is a poetic and dramatic entry into the interior of the house. One is given the time and mental space to shed the worries and concerns of the day before entering the peaceful retreat of the home.
In addition the stairwell, the various spaces of the home provide an artful connection. One has very strong visual and physical links to the swimming and outdoor area from the various levels; each space appears visually anchored to the spiral stairway. The different spaces of the home are separate and distinct yet interlock and overlap, to construct connection.
For more swimming pool ideas, take a look at these examples.
This screen allows for a beautiful play with light and shadow. Light is very rarely given consideration as a material itself. The way we design for light to penetrate and punctuate spaces can create, both, very subtle and very dramatic effects. Light and shadow connect us with time, grounding us in the present moment, while acknowledging the changing cycles of life. The changing hours of the day and the changing seasons evoke very different lighting effects. The varied qualities of light can be employed to enhance the designs of our homes.
Again, we see the effect light can have when it punctuates a space through windows and voids, or softly filters through building elements such as these floating stairs. The variations in the natural light create different shadow patterns throughout the day, evoking a variety of atmospheres. The feeling of lightness, both visual and physical, is carried throughout the house. The result is a cohesive, thoughtful and sophisticated design.
Take a look at another residence that employs threshold in a thoughtful way: Contemporary expression of traditional Japanese design.