Room Without Roof

HYLA Architects

Located in Singapore, this two-storey brick structure has the archetypal form of a gable-roofed house with an unusual twist – part of the form is actually an external courtyard that contains the swimming pool. This ‘room without a roof’ becomes the central focus of the house and blurs the distinction between inside and outside. It also gives the house privacy by controlling the views both from and to the house. The swimming pool extends beyond the house, reaching into the landscape.

The house is clad in a dark grey and textured face brick, which is modulated in a variety of ways – either with brick-sized openings or protruding bricks. On the second storey there is a precast concrete screen, which is both for visual effect and sun screening. The last element in the external palette is a timber grid screen, which gives a warm contrast to the brick and concrete.

Internally, smaller pockets of green extend the inside-outside theme. The staircase is a cantilevered structure with a triangular section facing a tiered landscape wall. The attic lounge has its own planting strip and is a continuation of the courtyard space vertically. The continuity in the structure and landscape is a method of immersing humanity into nature.

This project re-examines the relationship of a house with its external surroundings. It shows that you can have a richness of space with a very simple form. Typically, external spaces are outside the form. By making the space inside external, we blur the boundary between internal and external spaces and celebrate the life lived outside.

Photography: Derek Swalwell