Beyond the bamboo curtain

Beyond the bamboo curtain

THE first thing one notices about architect Sim Boon Yang's new house is the bamboo curtain strung across the facade - a row of large bamboo poles, cut to length, attached with hooks and hung individually from the ceiling on stainless steel wires to form a screen with a definite difference.

Using a traditional material in its natural form and making it a primary feature in a modern home is a bold - even radical - move, but one that has proved to be practical and effective.

The recently completed house, on an elevated plot in the Upper Thomson Road area, stands out in more ways than one compared to many of its older, single-storey neighbours. With its clean, contemporary lines, the home is basically a rectangular box made from concrete slabs and large glass panels.

It is a building with a simplified form and an undeniably Modernist intent, yet - thanks in part to those bamboo tubes and a natural approach to landscaping - it is in sync with its tropical environment.

Sim, a founding partner of Architects, moved in with his wife and three children a few months ago. He says the 464.5 sq m residence was designed around the notion of an open plan home and as simple a structure as possible, with logical layouts designed to suit the family's lifestyle and take advantage of the wide frontage and forward-facing views.

A basic box structure was divided into four equal bays, with four bedrooms on the second level, above a living and dining area that opens out to a swimming pool, and a separate guest room next to an entry staircase from the street-level car park below, which comes with an attached workshop where Sim, an avid sportsman and keen auto mechanic who once drove a Land Rover from London to Singapore, stores his diving and kite-boarding equipment as well as a full complement of motoring tools.

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