House in 3 Movements

CompanyRT Q Architects Pte Ltd
Lead Designer
Prize(s)2nd Place in Architecture Categories / New Residential Building
Entry Description


SITE STRATEGY (is it possible not to do the obvious?)
The feeling for the site was a ‘counter-intuitive’ one. The house was made even narrower within an already narrow site by turning the semi-detached house into detached house with setbacks on both sides. This site strategy increased the demands of the design.
AESTHETIC CONCEPT (is it useful to use a form from another discipline?)
The house is inspired by music composition. For instance, the composition of the house in divided into 3 movements, much like a symphony or sonata. And in order to create a coherent overall composition, a ‘leitmotif’ (in this case 3 recurring spiral staircases) was invented and worked into the spaces of the house.
FORMAL CONCEPT (is it alright to subdivide a house into 3?)
The formal strategy was to create a house in 3 cubic forms. The separate cubes or ‘movements’ are connected by bridges and linked by courtyards to heighten the distinct separations of the volumes. Effectively, there are 3 little houses within the house with light a views on all 4 sides of the form.
PROGRAMMATIC CONCEPT (is it sensible to separate a dwelling into parts?)
The idea was to express each of the different functions of the house in a separate cube. For instance, the public areas are contained in one cube, the little daughters in their own ‘house’, while the master-bedroom functions are contained in another.
IDEAS FOR MATERIALS (is it ok to use many materials?)
In order to accentuate the character of each of the movements, three different materials and colours were deployed. Timber cladding was used for the first cube, white smooth plaster for the second, and rough grey tones for the third.



Rene Tan and TK Quek of RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd, explore architecture as a inter-disciplinary craft that combines the elusive beauty of art and the rigours of building technology.

Since its founding in 2003, RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd have remained committed to the notion of architecture as a form of plastic sculptural art. The search for form is a preoccupation of the design approach. Distinct forms, pure shapes and clear lines form the basis of the RT+Q design language. RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd has done numerous projects, built and unbuilt, and continues to do works in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Works range from small individual houses, condominiums, resorts, offices and commercial buildings to larger-scale masterplanning projects. While the smaller projects offer insights into aspects of material and detailing, the larger ones provide opportunities to probe aspects of scale and form. The office continues to develop a style of architecture that is abstract yet rooted in the canons of classicism. RT+Q's approach to design often arises from an intuitive response to site and programme.

Apart from being involved in the professional practice of architecture, both partners are also active in teaching--having taught design, history and drawing and as external examiners at the National University of Singapore, LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore, Berkeley and Syracuse in the US and most recently at The University of Hong Kong.

Operating in a studio-like setting, RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd is built around a small group of individuals, each with a particular expertise in the separate aspects of the practice. RT+Q believes that the execution of architecture is essentially a collaborative effort, a synthesis of various talents.