Kuala Lumpur-based design studio GDP has been awarded the commission for an immense four-year project that will see them restore the historic home of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. The team have been charged with developing a masterplan for the large-scale site, including offices, retail facilities, residential units, luxury apartments and a top-end hotel for developers Warisan Pinang Sdn Bhd, alongside the restoration project.
GDP Architects will be working with civil, structural and geotechnical engineering firm Web Structures on the scheme. Dr Hossein Rezai, Group Director of Web Structures, said: “This is a major, landmark development in Penang with a great mix of properties, from luxury apartments to offices and shops in a fantastic setting. The conservation of the old hotel building will require some delicate work. We have to ensure that the new development work does nothing to harm that building as it takes place around it and also involves work underneath it.”
The redevelopment includes the careful restoration of the Runnymede property which was originally the home of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. The original single-story colonial house, built in 1807, was named Runnymede after the field on which King John signed the Magna Carta.
That property was destroyed by fire in the 1920s and a glamorous and internationally-famous hotel, with its impressive ballroom and cocktail parties, was built on that site in the 1930s. The British Navy took over the hotel in 1940 and it was used as a base by the Japanese during their occupation. Post-war it was in British military hands until 1957 when it became the property of the newly-independent Malaya.