By Urban Redevelopment Authority
The original structures were in a state of disrepair and needed extensive strengthening to withstand the anticipated loading for future use. All existing architectural features were carefully restored and missing elements reinstated. The overall works retain the spirit and character of the place whilst making it a commercially viable and efficient project.
(Left) 54 Serangoon Road before restoration.
In-depth and extensive research were carried out prior to restoration works. Conservation specialists and skilled craftsmen from as far as France and Italy were engaged to undertake the project. To read more about the project, click here
The main facade of the building featuring segmental arches with timber-framed coloured glazed panelled fanlights, casement windows with polychromatic tiles below and fluted brickwork plasters were restored. To read more about the restoration project, click here.
The decorative timber windows and doors of half of the building had been changed to modern ones over the years while the other half remained largely intact. During restoration, the altered half of the building was replicated with reference from the original half. Read more about the restoration project here
In 2003, the Architectural Heritage Awards was expanded into two categories. Category A for national monuments and fully conserved buildings. They are assessed on the extent of quality restoration practices such as the "3R" principles and the "Top-Down" approach. Category B for integrated "old" and "new" developments. They are recognitions of old buildings with new, innovative and sensitive interventions.
64-1 Spottiswoode Park Road was one of the first Category B winners in this new scheme.
With this change in the award scheme, it removes the perception that a good conservation project is only about the 'old and archaic'. It brings conservation up-to-date as being daring, exciting and current. It acknowledges works that show how old buildings can be made contemporary, and that they have lessons to inspire today's architects in the sensitive conversion of heritage buildings for today's needs.
The 3R principle and "Top-Down" approach were used and all external and internal elements of the bungalow were retained and restored. For example, the original roof tiles were fully kept with only damaged ones selectively replaced. Also of note is that all the original hand-made glass of the windows were kept. Read more on the project here.
The original building suffered from neglect and careless repair. Meticulous research was carried out by the architects. The doors and windows were replicated with design and details found in archival drawings. The timber roof trusses which were infested with termites, were removed in parts and replaced with a similar roof system. Some of the existing timber members were salvaged, treated and made into benches. For more details on the project, click here
The Art-Deco Waterboat House was also awarded in 2005. The architect discovered the original colouration of the plaster finish under years of overlays and this same shade of grey was reinstated to strengthen the Waterboat House's visual linkage with the former General Post Office (now the Fullerton Hotel). Also notable are the original marble panelling and brass door handles at the main entrance. Find out more about the other buildings along Singapore's historic waterfront here.
Originally naturally ventilated, the church's perforated walls, verandahs and extensive openings at the side facades helped the reinforced concrete building adapt well to the tropical climate. Conservation work was aimed at retaining most of its key features as well as allowing sensitive additions to cater to the growing congregation.
Restoration works were carried out between 2002 and 2005. There was a wealth of archival records available and special effort was taken to maintain the original spirit of the former school building. This included the retention of the concrete line running down the centre of the tiled corridors, that was used to organise students into queues. This restoration project also received international attention when it was conferred the UNESCO-Asia Pacific Award (Honorable Mention) for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
The original Shanghai plaster walls of the main building was meticulously restored and rare original pale green window glass were also kept. Much effort was put into updating the building in various aspects to fit its modern purpose without losing the patina of heritage in the public areas. The project demonstrated outstanding skills in using natural ventilation and natural lighting to enhance the internal spaces.
The Art Deco style building features a stainless steel crown to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This and other distinctive features such as some 20,000 pieces of travertine cladding on the building facade and all the original steel Crittal windows were sensitively restored to recapture the building's former glory.
In the restoration of this house, effort was made to retain most of its original fabric. Its traditional character was also enhanced through several strategies, such as keeping the verandah area un-enclosed, retaining original flooring materials, using a traditional colour palette for the walls and structure, as well as the installation of intricately carved timber window screens as well as a half-length timber door, known as a pintu-pagar at the first storey.
Most of the architectural elements, such as the intricately painted ceramic tiles on its front facade and at the upper storeys have been restored by professionals. The ground floor facade retains original granite panels carved in traditional Chinese style. The building is also painted in subtle colour and its architectural features are strategically lighted up.
The methodology for restoration was well thought through and executed. A team of craftsmen seasoned in a wide range of trades, from ceramics to timber structures, frescoes and gold gilding, were engaged from Guangzhou, China. Using authentic materials, every part of the temple was faithfully restored. To read more about the project, click here.
Rich and unique detailing on its facade – Chinese inscriptions and friezes adorned with ceramic chips, timber doors, windows and shutters, green Chinese tiles for the awning and glazed majolica wall tiles, as well as the red cement flooring along the five-foot way – were painstakingly repaired and restored.
The process to determine the original colour used for the house’s facade also demonstrates good conservation practice. Layer upon layer, the old paint was gradually stripped off to reveal the authentic and striking blue tone that was eventually used. This is a similar colour to the NUS-Baba House at 157 Neil Road. The delicate plaster relief below the second storey windows were also revealed after being hidden by decades of over-painting.
For more photos of the building and its interior, visit here.