Falling Water, Revisited: Modern Green Pool-Cooled Home


The Frank Lloyd Wright home featuring a flow-through waterfall may be the most recognizable residential design in modern history, but for all of its innovations its construction was extremely costly, not to mention the subsequent renovations required to hold its structure together over time. If that was the prototype for integrating moving water into houses, then this design may be one of the best executions of a contemporary, environmentally-integrated approach.

Starting with water-shadow patterns cast upon the entry path, this overly austere minimalist structure is merely a backdrop for the complex interplay of architecture and water that defines this house from top to bottom, inside and out. Like the name of the firm itself (Wallflower – photos by Albert Lim), the building is almost secondary, a foil for natural processes, views and the actions that take place within it rather than a work of art in and of itself.

Instead of situating the home on top of a waterfall, ponds were spread across much of the roof and wrap their way right into the interior spaces. Importantly, the water is part of a larger climate-related strategy – a means of sustainable cooling in the hot sun of Singapore – and not just an aesthetic choice. However, like the original Falling Water by Wright there is a repetitive use of horizontal elements that draw the eye of a viewer (inside or out) into the surrounding landscape.

Community, living and relaxation spaces are located on the second level, which enjoys greater views though less temperature control. The first floor houses the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms and other spaces that need to be guarded from climactic extremes (and for which the liquid roof acts as a heat sink). Views between inside and out and from one level to the next are afforded through slots in some cases or circular portholes in others, often with water flowing between one side and the other.

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