Spaces

LUCKY SHOPHOUSE

15th October 2013

This is one of those projects that falls into the ‘one seen, never forgotten’ category, thanks both to the space itself and its incredible volume, and to the tactile combinations of materials. Although the first photo above is perhaps the image to sum up that volume, the final two best illustrate just how much this building has evolved since being transformed by its new owners in 2012, working with Chang Architects.

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The building, a traditional shophouse, is located in Singapore and dates from the 1920s. It used to be a book store called The Lucky Book Store, and the owners, who tackled this project when returning to Singapore after working overseas, had visited the store while growing up in the Katong area. At the time, the ground floor was the shop itself while the upper level was used for storage.

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Conservation guidelines for this area required that the front of the building be conserved and restored, while the rear section could be redeveloped to a maximum of four storeys in height. The owners decided to convert the shophouse into a single expansive home, while a strip of vacant land at the rear enabled them to construct a single storey building – a gathering place where friends or family could also stay.

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The front façade has been carefully restored to reveal its original colour, and the fading signage from the book store days was even retained on one of the pillars. The non-supporting internal walls were stripped out to reveal the original structure with its exposed brick walls and timber rafters and joists, all of which creates a wonderful warm hue and patina to the interior.

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The new elements of the space were then inserted into this shell, and the materials were chosen to work in harmony with the existing finishes. There are inspired touches like the use of mirrored finishes, which reflect the brickwork and bounce the light around the spaces, not to mention those dramatic full-height timber sliding panels that spill the interior into the garden. Stunning.

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And for all that this house has incredible visual impact, it was economically constructed with low energy consumption as the spaces are primarily lit by daylight and are naturally ventilated.

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This house was featured on ArchDaily and the text there perfectly sums up the intentions behind it: ’The final result brings back fond memories of the couple’s childhood days – the days of living in a community where homes were interconnected social spaces; of spaces that were simple and adaptive; and how the rituals of everyday life were enriched by architecture.’

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Photos top, 6 and 7 by  © Albert Lim K.S.; all other photos © Invy & Eric Ng. See the post on ArchDaily for additional images.

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