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  • #16
    Design Approach ..........continued

    One the most seminal moments in Chinese architecture is a small house and garden in Suzhou called the Master of the Nets Garden

    The house is remarkable on many levels;
    • Mute on the outside, enclosed by a high wall
    • An unfolding “scene upon scene” internal layout eg mountain scene opening into water scene, opening into garden scene etc
    • Very careful editing of “what can be seen and what cannot be seen”
    Attached Files
    Last edited by DavidG; 25-06-2011, 05:20.


    • #17
      Design Approach .............. continued

      300 years later, Japanese monks used the lessons of the Chinese garden to construct what to me is the epitome of calm and quiet luxury, the Ryoan-ji temple in Kyoto.

      The most famous scene of Ryoan-ji is this one, which has all the hallmarks of a classic Japanese garden *;
      • A sense of abstraction / contemplation driven by an oblique stroll garden entry approach
      • Borrowed scenery
      • Rock garden centre piece
      • Optical illusion / forced perspective

      Surprisingly, this is not the most significant sacred space in the building. That honor is reserved for a much smaller "space in between" which in a very abstract fashion, tells the story of the creation of the universe.

      Translating lessons from those gardens into an interior of calm and quiet luxury means using some of their compositional rules to generate a design based on;
      • an unfolding “scene upon scene” internal layout
      • careful editing of “what can be seen and what cannot be seen”
      • creating a series of “spaces in between”

      I am not sure what this is going to look like yet but I think we can start talking about aesthetics now ………

      * for a better explanation of Japanese gardens please use this link
      Attached Files
      Last edited by DavidG; 16-08-2011, 18:01.


      • #18
        " • no major structural additions / alterations (as the building is occupied and has strict house rules)..."

        Can you expand more on this?

        - Do you have existing site photos?
        Attached Files


        • #19
          Originally posted by DavidG View Post

          I am not sure what this is going to look like yet but I think we can start talking about aesthetics now ………
          Like the unfolding scene after scene ... most interesting interiors have this approach ..with some surprise at a turn. Here's my shot on this...

          I will simplify kitchen to one side to open up. Keep bathrooms but will change the fixtures. (save cost) Create your moment experience at entry with dining becoming your focal, a feature sculpture (here I've shown a rock boulder) and some play on wall heights, thickness, materials and ceiling. I've shown an axis where major design elements are aligned up and end to a feature tree at balcony.

          Attached layout and cover page of Super Potato book
          Attached Files


          • #20

            Hello again.

            I have posted up another version of the plan, this time with some comments in answer to your questions. I will also dig up some existing shots and post up in the next few days. There will be some limits to what I will post though as I do like my privacy.

            Don't have much on the gardens in Suzhou, am thinking of making a trip there. If anyone has some images feel free to post them up.

            Your layout is suprising and interesting - some practicalities to be addressed but I like the stroll garden approach, hadn't thought of some of those permutations. Am also a big fan of Mr Potato.

            Thank you again to you and all other contributors to this thread.

            Attached Files
            Last edited by DavidG; 16-08-2011, 18:04.


            • #21
              Street View

              Street view of the building. Our apartment cannot be seen as it is set back - please refer to earlier post for details. Design is by Mok Wei Wei, done at about the same time as Paterson Edge.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by DavidG; 10-07-2011, 18:17.


              • #22
                Balcony View

                The balcony looking from the bedroom - tree in the foreground needs some love and care .................
                Attached Files
                Last edited by DavidG; 10-07-2011, 17:46.


                • #23
                  Living + Dining Room

                  Shot taken from the entry, half height wall of the open kitchen to the right, entrance to the bedrooms / bathrooms / study to the left.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by DavidG; 10-07-2011, 17:58.


                  • #24

                    Final shot shows the kitchen - for the longest time I thought that that hood was externally exhausted but found out the other day that it is a recirculating model. Flue is for air intake - we live and learn!
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by DavidG; 10-07-2011, 18:18.


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by DavidG View Post
                      Shot taken from the entry, half height wall of the open kitchen to the right, entrance to the bedrooms / bathrooms / study to the left.

                      This view is the classic "western" approach to design...the full on glory shot from the front door. There is no surprise or intrigue left to the imagination.

                      Of the items you posted I found the rough proportions of the rooms the most compelling. I think there's a good underlying design unit, similar to the Japanese floor mat, that you could use in layout your spaces.

                      What I would like to know is how much privacy do you and your wife need? Is the study just a home study or a work at home space? Are visitors frequent and are any of them of a business nature?

                      If this is just you and your wife's private space with close family then there are a lot of possibilities of different types of private space, but if you have to accommodate some business visitors while the other partner is home then the level of seclusion for the spaces would be more extreme.

                      Finally, I was expecting a grand view out your window but was disappointed to see that your look at the side of another highrise. This would seem to imply a focus inside your space instead of out the windows....very similar to the interior garden.


                      • #26
                        Mr LongMan,

                        Thank you for joining the thread.

                        Have also been pondering about the tatami mat. The apartment does indeed have a module roughly 300mm square and I have been thinking hard about how to use it well.

                        We do not use the apartment for business purposes and so privacy for visitors is less of an issue - we are quite happy for our friends to walk around as they like.

                        I share your concern about the shotgun layout but cannot see how a screen can be incorporated without becoming either very contrived/ cumbersome - that central passageway is only about 1400mm wide. I am wondering of that first view can somehow be deflected instead of blocked?

                        View of other highrises is all that is on offer I am afraid - we are just happy to have a garden balcony in the middle of the city.

                        As always, all suggestions and feedback most welcome,


                        Last edited by DavidG; 20-07-2011, 12:06.


                        • #27
                          Is the apartment opposite the old pool? I would have loved to have seen it full.....


                          • #28
                            do something spectacular with the space - put lots of fertilizer for the little tree. Sometimes it's the size of the planter that affects the growth. Please post more, otherwise it's pointless. share the love.


                            • #29
                              Layout Plan

                              Nicholas, Spadestick, hello again. Apartment is near the pool and we are fertilizing the little tree to get it back in shape. Have also re-edited some previous posts with better photos - more to come.......

                              Time to start planning! I have decided to use very `old school`methodology on this one - more appropriate for what I am trying to achieve;
                              - no SketchUp - design will be entirely by physical model including the overall apartment layout, 1:1 joinery details and individual pieces of furniture
                              - all drawings from design to final tender set will be by hand
                              - key elements will be mocked up on site at 1:1 before being turned into working drawings

                              I can see two broad possibilities for the planning;
                              1. to work with the existing layout. This will allow me to focus on the furniture - a good opportunity to try custom designing down to the door handles
                              2. to up the ante by tearing out internal walls and go for a full 'stroll garden` layout. This will involve freeing up the whole design by relocating the bedroom. A lot more risky - some pretty significant practical issues, less to spend on the details - but potentially more rewarding

                              I have put up a few sketches to give you something to get your teeth into. In the meantime I am going to run some costs to make sure that this is grounded in reality - as always, feel free to comment.........
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by DavidG; 16-08-2011, 18:09.


                              • #30
                                Just Hit The First Hurdle.........

                                Hello all, back again but with some sobering news - just hit the first hurdle. Costs have come in over budget for both options. I can have high quality materials and good workmanship, I can have a stroll garden layout but I can't have both.

                                Although contractors margins here are actually very lean, pricing in Singapore is now at the top of the market cycle. I will not give up good workmanship, not keen on using too many cheaper but highly processed materials like laminates and veneers either.

                                Could be a positive development though - constraints normally make a project much, much better. In order to deliver champagne on a beer budget, I will construction manage the whole process myself, rather than use a traditional main contractor;
                                • as discussed earlier, will try to design most of the kit myself and manufacture locally. There are some really good craftsmen here who do a great job on bespoke furniture
                                • because the market is relatively small, branded architectural products tend to be the purview of sole agents driving huge margins - in many cases, more expensive than Tokyo (!!?) I am going to bypass the local agents pricing by purchasing hardware in other countries and freighting in
                                • have also decided to limit myself to two, perhaps three materials

                                As the parameters are now clear and project has been taking some time, I am going to take the bull by the horns and start site works like demolition now. Will post shortly on material selection.

                                Over to you team ................,

                                Last edited by DavidG; 22-08-2011, 15:26.