STUDIO WILLS + Architects

PROJECT #13 is a renovation to a 30-year old ‘micro’ flat nested in a Singaporean public housing block served by a common corridor. Such corridors were originally envisioned as a social interaction space, however over time many units facing these corridors were observed to have their curtains permanently drawn over their windows as a result of the changing behavioural patterns and an increased need for privacy. The project sought to re-examine the ‘interface’ between the flat and the corridor, create a sense of space within the flat, address the requirements of two programs (office and home), and achieve a framework to enable the future-proofing of the flat.

The introduction of a foyer, as the first space off the corridor, resulted in a buffer zone between the public and private domains and two separate entry points enabling the spaces within to operate independently. The need to accommodate all the requirements of the office and the home lead to co-sharing of facilities and space-saving strategies of compacting functions at strategic locations. Louvered windows and epoxy flooring, commonly found in such flats, were adopted throughout the interior to assimilate the flat with its neighbours. Internal surfaces were kept predominantly white for daylight reflection with accents of timber for a warm appearance.

The result is a new flat that re-engages the corridor in varying degrees of openness and privacy, an interior of contrasting spaces that is open yet intimate, and a framework that allows easy re-adaptation for a variety of uses (office and home) and a variety of use patterns (one or more households) within a formerly single-use residential unit.

The ‘corridor unit’ is a common residential type that exists in Singapore’s so-called slab-block housing typology built in the 1960s and ’70s. They form a substantial portion of the existing housing stock and it is thus necessary to explore ways to re-purpose them so that they remain relevant to the needs of people today and in the future. There is room for innovation, as exemplified by this project.

Furniture: WON and Inclass (Made & Make), Skovshoved Mobelfabrik and Skagerak (Finnish Design Shop), Home, Ikea, Muji. Lighting: Specialitz Enterprise, Astro Lighting and Lambert & Fils (Made and Make), Santa Cole (W. Atelier). Finishes: Surface Art, Unlimited Enterprises. Fittings & Fixtures: Baron and Caroma (Adamas), TOTO (W. Atelier).

Photography: Khoo Guo Jie, Finbarr Fallon