Lucky Shophouse in Singapore by CHANG

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CHANG Architects had this 1920’s bookstore as project and it was a true challenge since it is situated in a district in Singapore with conservation guidelines. This specific building had to have the front part restored and conserved, but on the back side the building could be modified to have a maximum of four levels.

The old shophouse had the lower level used as the selling area, while upstairs the books were stored. The spaces between buildings in this area became smaller through time, so this particular place ended up having one side towards a back lane. The couple that bought the space was fond of the type of places they grew up in and this shophouse was close to their memories.

The architects’ task was to transform this customized selling space into a dwelling. For this, they designed a main house with an extension towards the open space on the back of the building. For this purpose, the vacant area was changed into a garden that connected to the inside of the main house and the rear one. The point of connection with the garden became a living room, a common space.

One problem for the architects was the façade where they had to conserve the original design. The first step was to reveal the original tone and, afterwards, protect it with transparent sealers. Moreover, the sign on the entrance with the name of the shop, “Lucky Book Store”, was retained so that it would be remembered.

On the inside, the brick walls with cavities, timber rafters and the joints on the floor were kept and restored. In this way, the original structure could be appreciated. Some spaces needed additional support and there were columns added to the old structure. One example is the double-height dinning area, but the distinction between the old parts of the wall and the new ones are very clear.

The garden connects the main house to the rear one-level house that has more privacy. This part of the residence hosts the bedrooms and baths.

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