© Nicholas Burns
SENTOSA HOUSE SINGAPORE 2010
Concept; The design is based around the central services and circulation core, this articulates the functional spaces either side without the need for creating rooms as such, glazing and furniture are used to define spatially the private and function aspects. This programatic gesture creates an interconnection, heightening the sense of openness and space through a seamlessness and distant and borrowed views. Floor plates were designed as continuos seamless planes leading the eye out the ends of the house to the view, a series of similar yet different floating spaces are revealed as you move up through the house. The top layer becomes more enclosed, cocooning the private realm of the master suite. The double height bedroom opens out to the jungle abstracting this realm from the built density yielding to nature. At the rear into jungle and the front to the sea, the islands, the post and the city. The close proximity of the neighbours either side necessitated a screen, privacy and unwanted views are excluded. Light and breeze are welcomed.
The design is cooled passively though has mechanical air-conditioning, solar electric and solar thermal are used to supplement energy consumption. The M&E had a brief to design the system in the most energy efficient manner.
Materiality; a paired back pallet of materials including- exposed concrete (structural and finish), recycled timber for floors, cladding, decking and screens, black granite, polished, honed and hammered, glass, sandblasted and clear, steel, painted and rusted.
Engineering; the structural and civil engineer approached as a designer rather than a typical engineer, thought and creativity were paramount in pushing structural solutions to achieve the desired design concepts. Reinforced concrete slabs adopted the dual function of slab and beam, the steel reinforcement designed to accommodate and continuos bearing structure to allow for future changes in wall layouts. The absence of beams below the slab which typically would have been 800-900 deep for the 9m span increased ceiling heights and allowed for an aligned soffit external- continuing with the concept of flowing seamless detail to the outside. Creating fine edges to the building. As the exposed slabs lean thickness is expressed. The procession of columns on the sides of the structure are tapered neatly to achieve the required 3rd storey set back at the critical structural moment, the walls above, perpendicular to the columns continue as structural walls above. The concave of the roof designed in RC is expressed as a slight concave of the exposed concrete ceiling. During the process eight internal columns were made obsolete as the mullions in the circulation core adopted the dual function of glazing and structure- giving freedom to the spaces and enhancing the concept of openness and interconnection. Material savings as a result of the structural design based on a similar building type are estimated at between 25-30%. A three month and 5% cost saving is achieved through the structural sub structure eliminating the standard method of piling.