A house in tribute to an old shophouse and its surrounding greeneries
Long, narrow, vacant, concreted land at the rear of an old, conserved shophouse was transformed into a garden, where a new single-storey house sits. Surrounding it are three four-storey apartments and houses, with part of the side facing a back lane. The client planned to move back to the shophouse, while the new house is to cater for visiting parents and relatives.
The brief called for an accessible platform whereby rooms are interconnected spaces that can be joined or separated depending on needs. Despite the narrow site, and instead of maximising built-up areas, both the couple and architect felt the need for a central green space between the shophouse and the new house. This central garden also serves as a green backdrop for the back lane which the neighbours now enjoy. As the two side boundary walls are not parallel but tapered, a series of rooms are organized intermittently. The house is essentially one-room thick, with the rooms staggered on plan and in section, to optimise internal spaces. The staggering also creates vertical apertures for natural ventilations, day-lighting, and access to the outdoors and greeneries.
The decision to go low dense serves the following objectives: to retain the existing greeneries that overhang from the neighbour's site; to retain the privacy of the neighbours; to minimise impact to the existing fabric of the neighbourhood; and to give due respect to the scale and context of the old shophouse. The enclosures of the rear house have a rustic finish made of stone aggregates to blend with its green setting, and to complement the timeless and rawness of the old brick walls of the front shophouse. The house was economically constructed, and responds to the local tropical climate with low energy consumption.