Envelope House

ASOLIDPLAN with Solid Architects LLP

This multi-generational home in Singapore is designed as a landscaped double-skinned house, with an outer envelope enclosing both a layer of greenery and an indoor courtyard garden. The double skin and its vegetation shield the house from the harsh western sun and blur the boundary between indoors and outdoors.

The brief was for a multi-generational home for three households – the client’s young family with a child, their parents, and their aunt – with private spaces, common spaces and generous greenery. In response, ASOLIDPLAN formulated the parti as three levels: first being public, second for the elderly parents and aunt, and the third level for the young family with their own private door and staircase.

A central courtyard enables connection between all three levels, while respecting the private spaces of each. The staircase to the second level and a skybridge at the third level crisscross this courtyard, allowing for chance encounters within the family. A water feature and tall indoor trees fill this courtyard, connecting the heart of the house to the outside.

Going against developmental pressure, the client followed our advice to focus on quality over quantity of space. The result is an unconventionally generous indoor garden, with a staircase weaving through foliage and a skybridge crossing the tree canopy, bringing nature into the residents’ home and everyday life.

The landscaped double skin, indoor water garden, triple-volume courtyard with ventilated skylight, and roof garden work together to create comfortable microclimatic conditions. As a result, the house is constantly breezy and cool, despite the west-facing orientation.

Achieving such biophilic and microclimatic effectiveness without using typical tropical design solutions, such as eaves and overhangs, Envelope House shows that there are new ways to create tropical architecture in a dense urban environment like Singapore.


Furniture: Cult, Hay, King Living. Finishes: Goh Teck Wah, Wood & Wood, EDL, Lamitak. Fittings & Fixtures: American Standard, Roger & Sons.


Photography: Khoo Guo Jie