It’s rare that we get a chance to look into other people’s homes. Besides the odd voyeuristic magazine article or the house tours that come along once in a blue moon, houses designed well are usually closed off to the eyes of lesser mortals.
In Singapore though, a house has been specifically designed to allow strangers in off the street. The owners of Gallery House asked Singaporean super-studio Lekker Design to ensure people access to a gallery that shares the plot with their residence. So while it’s not quite a case of having free rein to someone’s house, the two programs are held in the same volume and are intimately connected. Singaporean lots are usually long and skinny with neighbors butting up against one another. The architects designed the house to have a separate entrance for the gallery and the private residence. The residence volume juts into the gallery at the second floor creating a very geometric representation of the two spaces interacting. This house reaches up to the sky to gain some more floor space. This combined with the density of the design of course means that minimal light can reach the bottom level. To overcome this problem, the architects staggered the top levels and added a few small gardens into the façade to allow natural light to penetrate the depths below. These gardens also create the opportunity to visually bring the naturally tropical vegetation of the island indoors.
Sharing your space with the public, especially in as densely built up a place as Singapore, is very generous. And thankfully the architects found a way to merge the two programs, while keeping Galley House a cohesive whole.