Close your eyes and envision the most relaxing tropical paradise residence you can possibly imagine. What do you picture? Maybe your ultimate retreat features multiple swimming pools, gardens, balconies, aquariums, and lounge chairs to spare. But no matter how lush and luxurious your fantasy might be, it’s probably got nothing on the real-life creations of Guz Architects. This Singapore-based firm takes advantage of the island’s temperate climate to design homes that integrate nature into interior spaces in virtually every way, from rooftop gardens to reflecting pools that travel under glass walls and into living rooms.
Each home is a tropical oasis with greenery dripping down walls, trees growing up through atriums that open to the sky, glittering water speckled with water lilies and other aquatic plants, boulders, and vibrant green lawns. Some designs, like Willow House in Singapore, feature jaw-dropping swimming pools with glass walls that make turquoise waters part of the living space, with interior windows of subterranean spaces looking into the depths of the pool.
Cluny House has a swimming pool visually merging into a water garden dotted with grassy islands, set beside two pavilions on an L-shaped plan. Elsewhere, the spectacular Fish House offers a green-roofed, glassed-in pavilion jutting out over the swimming pool to take in views of the ocean. And Sun House uses ponds and a pool to passively cool the building, and tucks a courtyard into the interior for privacy, serving as one of the firm’s best examples of “how architecture immerses itself into nature,” as they explain.
“Situated onto an irregular landscape, the building took on the design of an L-shape. With the project designed in this manner, this allowed the building to make use of the vast green landscape surrounding the house making the focal point the pond and the luscious greenery. We were able to create an open courtyard which was private but still with a feeling of openness with good vies and airflow.”
Nearly all of these homes boast split-level floor plans with sections that overlap in unconventional ways to take advantage of views of the pools, gardens, and scenery beyond the borders of the properties. Many are open to the fresh air, promoting cross-ventilation and offering a seamless transition between the living areas and the homes’ many terraces and balconies.
Guz Architects’ commitment to a balance with nature goes far beyond simply designing beautiful indoor/outdoor homes, too. While many other architects and developers might not give much thought to the ecology of the site itself, Guz considers how their designs will impact the land and the local environment, and their homes are full of sustainable design features and practices. The firm also puts their money where their mouth is when it comes to environmental responsibility.
“As architects we believe that we should help neutralize the effect of global warming incurred by our projects by planting trees wherever possible,” they say. “As a company we have purchased land in the UK and New Zealand, and so far have planted over 3200 trees. We make donations to World Land Trust to preserve existing rainforest; and also Greenpeace who are active in helping prevent deforestation globally.”