M-House is a contemporary house designed by ONG&ONG Pte Ltd and is located in Singapore. It was completed in 2011 and covers an area of 498 sqm.
This homely haven, nestled in the lush greenery of Bukit Timah Road, captures the ingenious display of mankind’s modern existence with the natural environment in perfect harmony. In keeping with the client’s request, the home provides the ideal balance between the needs for family bonding as well as for personal space.
The house’s design takes full advantage of the native tropical environment, and the building’s shape as well as its placement were carefully planned so as not to dwarf the site’s rich, natural space. Basic elemental forms were used – namely, a cube and rectangle block comprise the stacked volumes of this house – and with no shortage of sunlight in the Singapore climate, the structure’s open layout is ideal for natural lighting and cross-ventilation.
Sunlight enters from all sides of the house, providing illumination during the day whilst also keeping the interiors warm during cooler weather. To battle the heat, one can have a dip in the edgeless pool encircling the home, while natural wind also circulates within the building to bring down the temperature. The second level is also cantilevered, providing shade to areas on the ground floor.
Within the house, communal areas are spacious, with a double-volume void over the living area seamlessly unifying the two levels as a collective whole. This facilitates interaction between the close-knit family as communication across the house can be direct and intimate.
Even though space is abundant in this house, it is still able to accommodate numerous bedrooms for the many family members, with four on the second floor as well as a guestroom and maid’s quarters on the ground floor. Lourves lining the sides of the upper floor provide the choice of either opening up the floor to take in the surrounding views, or keeping the bedrooms hidden for privacy.
The selection of materials used in various sections of the house was cost-effective, with an emphasis on high-grade quality without being excessively extravagant. A Classic Modernist style was adopted through the use of fare-faced concrete and timber planks for the walls as well as teak for some of the flooring and underside of the roof. The designers also attempted to revive the terrazzo tradition, once popular in the region, by applying the composite of white cement on polished marble chips to areas such as the living room, giving its floor a seamlessly sophisticated finish. In the bathrooms, Ardex was employed in creating a raw-looking finish for the walls, which provide an interesting and striking contrast against a single feature wall that is encased in dark marble.
The concrete that covers the façade is also unique, looking very much like liquid stone and adding a raw quality that is very fitting for this nature-inspired home. Interestingly, this effect, coupled with the cantilevered second level and opened up first floor, gives the Zen-like imagery of a floating stone when the house is viewed from afar.
Photographer Derek Swalwell