Last month, the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Awards, the most prestigious local professional association accolade that aims to promote and encourage distinction in architectural design, recognised 16 projects out of a shortlist of 23 that span categories including residential projects, institutional projects, special categories and interior architecture.

One of our favourite project the Terrace Flat by young architectural practice Kaizen Architecture, which took home the Merit Award in the interior architecture category.

A brainchild of a practice born during the pandemic, this project is an experiment revolving around the “adaptive home” as a future model for public housing typology, one that can support multiple programmes.

An open plan dissolves all the original boundaries in this three-room flat. Furniture layout, storage and custom carpentry delineate new programmes within this open plan. 

“The pandemic has triggered a behavioural evolution in all aspects of life, from work and play to exercise and rest,” explains Melvin Keng, principal architect and co-founder of Kaizen Architecture who is also the homeowner.

“The key to achieving harmonious co-existence between multiple programmes under one roof is first to recalibrate how we associate a certain space with a certain function,” he adds.

Melvin is the both the designer and homeowner.

“The key to achieving harmonious co-existence between multiple programmes under one roof is first to recalibrate how we associate a certain space with a certain function.”

Melvin Keng, Kaizen architecture

“Once we understand that our everyday lives evolve, it will inevitably cause us to begin disassociating from form “follows function” and accept “function follows form”,” he continues.

“Spaces within an apartment then start to become non-defined and can adapt readily to these ever-changing needs of the home,” he elaborates.

It is a laudable achievement for a young practice such as this to clinch an award.

“We had to work hard to power through the worst of the crisis with few available jobs. I am proud to say we were resilient enough to weather the storm, and to come out of it with this award is an absolute encouragement for us to continue producing good work and contribute meaningfully to the architectural landscape in Singapore,” he says. 

Photography by Khoo Guo Jie