Bliss@Kovan Condominium / LOOK Architects

Bliss@Kovan Condominium / LOOK Architects

Condominium development comprising six 5-storey residential blocks (total 140 dwelling units), one 3-storey communal facilities block, communal swimming / spa pools and basement carpark. Total gross floor area of 12,754 square meters. Homeowners are increasingly looking beyond the layout of the unit they are purchasing to the collective identity of the development, finding an emotional connection between the place of residence and the lifestyle choices they subscribe to. This is an aspect impacting residential design worthy of deeper contemplation. Strategically nestled amidst a mature landed housing neighbourhood abound with laid-back charm, the site location enabled us to formulate a clear image of the development – a private eco- lifestyle sanctuary indulging urbanites’ longing to momentarily detach from the city bustle – and provided an answer to the client’s search for a branding niche, reaching out to a target demographic sensitive to ecological consciousness. Designing for the high density of condominium developments is a challenge that constantly calls for refreshing solutions. Residential blocks are laid out in a staggered configuration that maximizes porosity within the site, fostering an ambience of airiness amidst the surrounding tightly woven urban fabric. ‘Ventilation breezeways’ between individual blocks serve to channel the prevailing north-eastern wind through the site. Looking to expand the spatial nomenclature of condominium living, penthouse units are furnished with their own roof terrace space instead of enclosed attic rooms. For residents to enjoy outdoor dining and a dip in the private pool or jacuzzi, the high-level trellis roof creates a comfortable, thermally buffered space at the roof terrace, which exudes the debonair allure of tropical living. Deeply cantilevered balconies on second to fifth floors serve as functional extensions of units’ living space, being effectively shielded from the weather and adding a touch of spatial splendour. Believing in “doing more with less” as a sustainable design approach, architectural elements each has a manifold role, both aesthetically and as eco-friendly features. The high-level trellis roof – comprising folded perforated aluminium panels inclined at a gradual pitch – not only reduces thermal gain through the roof slab, but also serves to channel breezes toward the habitable roof terrace. The roof terrace serves as catchment area for an integrated rainwater harvesting system, which provides irrigation for the extensive communal landscaped deck. “Wind scoops” affixed to cantilevered facade frames are vertical elements directing air movement through the main living spaces of units, while acting as diaphanous sun-shading screens. These lightweight wind scoops echo the expression of the balcony parapet screen, forming a sophisticated design language of delicate translucency and lightness. As part of a holistic design approach, we look beyond the utilitarian value of building components and discover in them the potential to inject creativity into the living environment. For instance, the surface drainage system blends into the lush landscaping, being designed as a vegetated bio- swale that helps filter surface run-off. Screening off views of the basement carpark (partially open on one side to capitalize on existing site topography) from neighbouring lots, BRC mesh panels double up as a urban farming wall that allows residents to grow their own vegetables within shared communal space. Counteracting the closed-community perception of private condominiums, the main development entrance is designed to be open-concept, where the drop- off area is lushly landscaped and incorporates a welcoming forecourt with cascading water wall feature. The security guardhouse is consciously set back from the site boundary, effectively creating a more pedestrian-friendly interface on the street level.

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