Lucky Shophouse, Singapore, Singapore

An old shophouse. A Joo Chiat Client. The passion to retain the charms of a historical place in Singapore.

Located along Joo Chiat Place, this project involved conserving and converting an old bookstore shophouse, known as ‘Lucky Book Store’ into a dwelling place; and transforming a concreted, vacated land at the rear into a garden space, with new extension of a single-storey house.

Built in the 1920s, the facade has been stripped of its layered decorations, revealing only its original structures, finishes, and detailing, in celebration of its heritage and seamless integration with today’s lifestyle.

Non-structural partitions were removed so that the spaces, the old textured brick walls, timber rafters and floor joists, can be better appreciated.

Furniture, fittings and services are placed in a central axis. Progress through the house is by the side rather than along the axis. This frees the brick walls, and maintains clear vistas on both sides that run 55m to the rear.

One side of the house faces a back lane. Instead of maximizing built-up areas, both the owner and architect felt the need to keep the end of this back lane visually unobstructed. This leads to the creation of a central garden space. As a result, the neighbours on either side enjoy a backdrop of green oasis.

Beyond this central garden space, is the new single-storey house that is essentially one-room wide. The decision to go low density and to elevate from the ground pleasantly increases the breathing and green spaces for this house and its surrounding.

A series of rooms are organized intermittently, continuing the same axis and vistas. This offers cross-ventilations, day-lighting, and fragmented views of the greenery.

The final result brings back fond memories of the owner’s childhood – reminiscent of community living where homes were interconnected social spaces; of spaces that were adaptive, useful and liveable; and whereby architecture enriches the rituals of everyday life.

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