RIBBON TECTONICS

Programme: Residential
Project size: 400 sq.m
Location: Singapore
Status: Completed 2013

Design Architect: Teh Kan Wee Wagen, AIA
Design Team: Portia Wijatno

Collaborators: Wong Kok Yan
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Throughout the history of architecture, there has always been great interest in developing design vocabularies that reflect the prevailing material technology and culture. During the 1920s, the ribbon window became a recurring design language of architects such as Le Corbusier. This newfound design freedom allowed for the creation of uninterrupted openings in building facades, a liberation from the post and beam reinforced concrete structures within. It also contributed to an unprecedented visual experience as seen in the Villa Savoye.

The design intent of this house is an attempt to survey the current catalog of glass technology and its applications by adopting them in various permutations to derive a contemporary design vocabulary. The different types of glass such as float glass, tempered glass, and laminated glass have extended to building applications such as the curtain wall system that spans across levels, a glass railing that performs as a barrier, and skylights and clerestory windows that allow for natural light to enter into the interior. These ribbon fenestrations weave around the building facade to introduce unique apertures of various aspect ratios, for different views of the exterior. The animated, maze-like tectonics of the ribbon windows were articulated in the design of other elements such as the house number on the entry gate and the boundary walls.