Elok House

Elok House

Chang Architects as Architects

The design of this three-storey intermediate terrace house was completed in August 2005. The scheme was able to fulfill the owner’s brief, part of which was to cater spaces for six persons, a couple, three teenage children and a maid. There was a need for privacy for the couple and the children, but not total separateness. In addition, an experience of living close to nature, re-living their love for nature since their childhood days.


The house was conceived as a three-dimensional landscaped installation, whereby the living spaces were then inserted within. This created floating platforms that optimise natural day lighting, cross-ventilations, and views. It also allowed the spaces to be meaningfully segregated so that the family members could live in proximity without compromising the privacy of the individuals. The living spaces are defined by voids, and landscape elements such as plants, pebbles, and water – both horizontally and vertically.


On plan, the conventional intermediate terrace house was reconfigured with a central zone, flanked by a one-metre wide linear light and ventilation wells along both sides of the site. The ground floor is one interconnected landscape, with the kitchen located up front as part of the entrance porch setting. The old boundary wall was removed, setback by 2.4m, and replaced with thin lines of steel cables held by sliding frames. These transformations generated a cordial setting, the principle space for meeting neighbours/visitors as compared to the former car porch. Beyond here, the casual/formal dining and the living areas are intermittently located and interchangeable, defined loosely by landscape elements. The space culminates at the rear with an existing retaining wall being turned into a waterfall, flanked by vertical ‘green walls’ on both sides.


The configurations of the spaces, incorporated with the luxuriant use of plants and water elements, have effectively generated a cool microclimate within the house, which is also bright and airy during the day. The eventual setting resembles a tropical rainforest setting that not only reduces the need for air-conditioning and artificial lighting, but it also creates a living environment that is congenial, whereby one can be in sync with nature, even in an urbanised neighbourhood.

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