Husband and Wife Architect Team Envision KAP-HOUSE
Singapore, Residential Architecture –
Valuing each other’s different points of view, ONG&ONG directors DIEGO MOLINA AND MARIA ARANGO design a home as a paradigm of modern tropical living with borrowed views of the surrounding wild grassland
SEEKING TO CAPITALISE on the beauty of the home’s surroundings, the design team, led by Molina and Arango, adopted the Japanese design principle of Shakkei, or borrowed view. Their intention was to create a home resplendent in the “likeness of nature, capturing nature alive to create a spectacular vision”.
Simplicity reigns as clean lines and bold structural elements manifest into an elegant design. Architects deployed a programmatic approach when conceptualising the home. KAP-House features four bedrooms, guestroom, and living and private zones in a series of rectilinear volumes placed in interlocking juxtapositions. Individual volumes were conceived in accordance with how their space would be utilised. Further accentuating the overall design is a meticulously curated material palette – reflected in the stone and timber facades, placid blue pools and waterways, and lush gardens greenery.
A chat with MARIA ARANGO AND DIEGO MOLINA, husband and wife architects at Ong&Ong, and directors-in-charge of the KAP-House project
We come from Columbia, a country that has a different climate, and some of Colombia’s colonial and tropical architecture will intrinsically be part of our design language.”
Is integrating nature and landscape into architectural design a large part of the ONG&ONG philosophy?
Connection of interior and exterior is key. This goes hand-in-hand with the landscape design and selection of the green elements.
For KAP-House, the Japanese concept of shakkei and ‘framing the view’ is key in the design. Will this be more tricky to achieve in the future in land scarce Singapore?
The residential landed planning zones are controlled by URA, allowing for a less dense and highly green context for most private home zones. Achieving borrowed views and framing the views is always a possibility.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Fair-faced concrete, natural stones and natural woods are our staple choices.
What Singapore vernacular architecture do you have a soft spot for?
Shophouses, which are rather unique to Singapore’s heritage, and Black and White bungalows.
What Singapore food do you like?
Chilli crab, chicken rice, prata – almost anything Singaporean!
What Columbian food do you miss?
Arepas and avocados, which are corn tortillas.
What advice can you give an architecture student about designing Singapore residential projects?
Designing one’s home is a very personal experience. You need to understand the client’s criteria, requirements, the dynamics of the family and plan with them the new experiences that the family is looking forward to in their new space. The right equilibrium between function and form is always the key to a desirable home.
And working together as husband and wife on the same projects?
We both have our own complementary strengths and value the other’s different points of view.
Story by Carol Kraal. Information and photographs courtesy of Ong&Ong