Building on a Shoestring in Singapore

Bound by a tight budget and a lot located amid a block of terrace houses with heavy street traffic, Singaporean architect Chang Yong Ter of Chang Architects made the savviest move he could for his clients, a young family: He oriented the staggered series of “rectilinear open shells” that comprise the Framed House toward the charming public park that sits just beyond the home’s modest backyard.

Building on a shoestring is no mean feat in Singapore, especially when your home calls for a multilayered facade. Chang Architects, however, were more than up to the challenge. Photo by Albert Lim KS.

Singapore is a famously expensive place to build, especially in soft-soil areas where pilings must be constructed before driving the first nail. But Chang managed to erect the 2,965-
square-foot house for a mere $122 per square foot. “Essentially, this house was constructed with relatively basic and conventional materials and finishes,” says Chang,” and without extravagant items.” By designing the home with an eye toward reducing construction costs, sourcing inexpensive materials, accepting low bids from contractors, and prizing great views over great slabs of marble, the architect delivered a home as striking in its design as its price tag.  

Project: Framed House
Architect: Chang Architects
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