7500 sq ft
Staac Construction Pte Ltd
Situated on a hillside with breathtaking vistas of Changi/ Toh Estate, Maya attempts strike that balance of fitting in all of Client’s spatial requirements and at the same time respecting the rich s...
Situated on a hillside with breathtaking vistas of Changi/ Toh Estate, Maya attempts strike that balance of fitting in all of Client’s spatial requirements and at the same time respecting the rich site context. Due to the site’s prominence and visibility, one of the main challenges is to ensure that the scale of the new building does not appear too imposing against the backdrop of the quaint low-rise neighbourhood.
With a frontage that faces the west, it was important to articulate a façade that allows maximum frontal visibility without letting too much heat in. There are also two tall mature trees at the entrance, their sheer size and presence already set a level of prominence at the entrance. These factors then became the main design impetus in façade articulation.
Fronting the street, the site has a generous depth- it is narrow at the front and back (west and east facing), and long at the sides (north and south facing). This itself is advantageous as the elevation that provides the best vistas is north facing, while the west and east façades are narrower. Hence this context itself naturally calls for a massing that is north-south oriented and set the strategy for the placement of openings.
The building is to sit on the shoulder of a steep slope. One the lengths of the site is unblocked while the other faces the higher neighbour. This provide prominence and visibility to the building, a factor that needs to be managed carefully so that the building melds congenially with its surrounding.
The brief called for an abode for a family of five and the home is to contain least 6 ensuite bedrooms, with generous spaces for entertainment and recreation. A basement for music and theatre system was also desired, and this needs to be easily accessible.
There is also a set of fengshui requirements that needed to be adhered to. These requirements basically set the placement main doors, location of bedrooms and the direction of beds.
The site itself was the main inspiration for Maya. It was important to take full advantage of the sloping site with its dramatic vistas. The ideal lengths facing North and South provide an opportunity to maximize openings. The mature trees at the front provide an excellent frame and canopy at the entrance, celebrating the sense of welcome while providing a gauge of scale to Maya.
With a brief that calls for a relatively large built-up area, the main challenge was to ensure that building does not look too huge and imposing on a prominent sloping site. The I-shaped plan is conceived to orientate the longer sides of the house in a North-South direction, reducing the exposure to the west and east sun as much as possible.
The living and entertainment rooms assume the spine of the house, literally bridging spaces together. A feature landscape valley is carved out on both long sides to bring much light and air to the basement. With this feature the living room appears to be ‘floating’ above a landscaped garden, providing the massing its much needed lightness.
Anchoring the central spine on its two ends are the front and rear blocks. The front houses the entrance porch as well as the master suites while the dining and service spaces take on the rear.
With two towering trees framing the entrance, the façade is kept simple and ordered. On the upper floor, rhythmic angled fins shun the west sun away without compromising the vistas out to the lush greenery. The entrance foyer is deliberately kept ‘quiet’ with subdued landscaping. This entrance space assumes the preamble to the ‘explosion’ of greenery that awaits one at the landscape valley.
The organization of the spaces is intuitively derived. The public and entertainment areas are kept to the first and basement floors, while bedrooms and private domain is contained within the second floor. The attic, housing the gym, roof terraces and jacuzzi deck is a flexible space for recreation and entertainment.
The Landscape Valley
Perhaps the most important feature of Maya is this Landscape Valley. The carved out feature maximizes cross ventilation and light penetration to the basement, creating a basement that is bright and airy. Instead of massive retaining wall structure that traditionally contains basement spaces, the landscaping on the slopes of the valley curtains the basement windows, creating a natural embankment. This way of basement construction proved to be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
Verandahs and Nestled Gardens
Landscaping play a vital role in the articulation of spaces and façades. It gives that important breaks to the massing of the house and provides pockets of relief throughout the entire house, bringing the garden-feel inside. Landscaped verandahs and decks flank the living room, circulation spaces and bedrooms. These provide depth and layering to the façade articulation.
Many features of the house contribute to its sustainability. Maya is designed to maximize natural attributes of her surrounding and take full advantage of context. Main rooms and spaces enjoy abundant cross ventilation and passive cooling, while being shaded from direct sun. This is mainly due to the north-south orientation of the building. The creation of the landscape valley not only allows for a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective basement construction, its lush landscaping also creates a microclimate that cushions the house from heat absorption. Existing mature trees are kept and are integrated in the house design while existing retaining walls and fences are retained to reduce earthwork and preserve nostalgia.