Water Lily House, Singapore

Rather than viewing luxury and sustainability as being mutually exclusive, it may actually be that true innovation is driven by the desire for luxury, especially given that luxury and comfort mean such different things to different people.

Located in Singapore, Water Lily House is a multi-generational house accommodating three generations. It is also a gathering point for the extended family and a venue for entertaining. While the communal areas were important, it was also necessary to delineate the public and the private domains- to be separate and yet together…The house seems to dissolve into the gardens, drawing in so much light that artificial lighting is never required during the day. Although there is a lot of glass, the house never heats up because there is also adequate cross-ventilation.


Photography by Masano Kawana

The living pavilion, although on the entry level, is actually elevated, allowing panoramic views. It leads to a garden terrace with a shallow swimming pool (one metre deep) which almost meanders around the timber deck making it more of a water feature than a pool. The house is organised around the central sunken courtyard and consists of three pavilions. The two main pavilions, like book ends, are linked by timber walkways on the first and second storeys. The third pavilion, which includes a music room, maid’s quarters and clients’ private area is at the basement level, defined on one side by the garden courtyard and on the other by another outside garden space running the whole length of the building.


Living in this house is a combination of living in a garden and in the landscape. There is not a single space that does not feel immediately connected to the outside, both physically and visually. Filled with light and naturally ventilated, the house with its covered walkways, open pavilions, water and lush greenery cools itself. In an environmental sense the house is clearly sustainable. But its sustainability goes well beyond that. As an astutely planned multi-generational house that provides both privacy and community for its permanent residents while also accommodating large numbers of visiting family, it sustains family life with all the benefits that this brings to the individuals.


This article was published in the March 2015 issue of Inspire Living Magazine. Download it here!