The Fish House in Singapore, designed by Guz Architects, was designed with two things in mind: ecological soundness, and an embrace of Singapore’s tropical climate; the latter achieved by creating an open, breezy space that gives residents views from every room to the ocean, as well as into the garden and the encircling swimming pool.
The house is emblematic of the philosophy of Guz Architects, a company whose philosophy is rooted in a desire to produce architecture that is tranquil, inspired by nature, and yet human in scale. In all of their work, they utilise structure, materials and technology to create a seamless transition between inside and outside—something, as we'll see below, that finds full expression in Fish House. The company has embraced the use of sustainable design technologies, with both passive and active design principles being brought to bear to create long-lasting, timeless architecture.
The main concept underlying the design of Fish House, located in Sentosa, was the creation of a close relationship with its environment—namely, with the sea. This relationship has its clearest articulation in the moat-like swimming pool, which flows around the house while drawing the eye to the sea beyond, creating the impression that the pool is an inlet that has flowed in from the ocean to embrace the house. The house, from this angle, becomes a peninsula whose shape and form has been carved out by the sea's waves.
From this angle, the idea of house-as-peninsula is reinforced, even as the roof thrusts itself out and towards dry land. Rather than standing aloof from the land surrounding it—something that could easily happen with the moat shape of the pool—the house reaches out to embrace its neighbours and to integrate itself into all of its surroundings. On the upper level, the eye is once again drawn out to the sea beyond, as if one could just step from the living room directly into the sea waves. As well as creating a connection with its neighbours on dry land, the roof overhang also provides essential shade for residents as they lounge in the pool or on the veranda. The 'island' within the pool reinforces the sense that the house is just another promontory in the sea; one of many, while planting on the roof adds to this sense—giving the impression that the house has been dug out of a cliff on the edge of a peninsula.
The indoor-outdoor connection finds expression again in the basement living and media room, which features a U-shaped acrylic window that gives views of the pool's depths. Rather than having to pull blinds or drapes to create a darkened space for enjoying TV or a movie away from the sun's glare, and in the process shutting out the outdoors, the windows on the pool mean the space is part of the outside even as it's nicely cool and shaded. Extensive glazing throughout the rest of the house ensures that indoors and outdoors are connected throughout the house.
The brief for this project was the creation of a modest yet luxurious home that would be comfortable in the tropical climate of Singapore. Singapore being a garden city it, was essential that it also blend in with its natural surroundings. This was achieved through the carpeting of part of the house's roof with grass. As well as helping to blend the structure sensitively with its surroundings, the grass helps to cool its interior on even the warmest days and to provide some outdoor leisure spaces. The rest of the roof is almost totally covered with thin bendable photovoltaic panels, which are bent into waveforms to echo the waves of the ocean, and which supply the house's energy needs.
For another unusual abode, take a look at this forest home among the tree tops.