Singapore Residential Architecture

Husband and wife DIEGO MOLINA and MARIA ARANGO were directors at ONG & ONG before venturing out and starting ArMo Design Studio. KAP HOUSE was one of their inspired creations


A holistic approach was employed in order to achieve an intrinsic integration between architecture, interior design, and landscaping
An L-shaped slab of textured reinforced concrete frames a facade of gray zircon wood strips, neatly stacked atop a lower plane of champagne limestone cladding, which stretches into KAP-House’s manicured garden


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.

KAP-House captures its marvellous natural milieu, as the architects carefully aligned the home to emphasise borrowed views of the green corridor of the old Malayan Railway
The entrance foyer leading to the shared common space reveals a system of fully retractable floor-to-ceiling glass windows encasing the living and dining areas. The architects’ intention was to allow the fecund greenery of the garden exterior and the borrowed view of the rail corridor beyond to traverse into the refined spaces of the home’s interior
Kitchen in treated wood and white stone – all zones complement the green surroundings
Family room opens to roof terrace
Master bedroom
Basement Entertainment Room views the outdoor Lap Pool



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 your 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

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