Category: Special Categories
“The judges appreciated the difficulty of interfacing between two conservation buildings of disparate style and thus lauded the architects’ effort to connect the three buildings together as one continuous showroom.
More sensitivity in detailing the glass box would have further distinguished the project, as the glass box is now a common architectural trope to connect to historical buildings.”
Space Furniture’s new Asia hub for furniture design is located in the midst of the Arts and Entertainment District. Housed within a unique cluster of heritage buildings within a gazetted conservation area, it comprises two conserved buildings – a villa and a shophouse – flanking an existing infill unit. This redevelopment creates a contemporary retail showroom with expanded lifestyle facilities while retaining heritage elements. The mix of past styles and forms provides an effective backdrop for the furniture, providing authentic settings for a variety of designs.
The design strategy contrasts old and new, but in the context of a dialogue, rather than a rigid separation, and prioritizing spatial clarity and reading of the old forms as archetypal forms, over conserving elements of inferior quality.
In the two conserved buildings, new timber trusses provide free spans to reveal high volume, column-free showroom interiors, a potential inherent in the existing form and architecture. Parts of the existing party wall were taken down and new staircases introduced to open up, connect and mediate the different levels across the 3 developments as an integrated showroom. The improved visual porosity across the units reveal new volumes of varying scales and enhances the overall appreciation of the spatial richness previously hidden within the built forms.
At the street level, a public space is created around restored buildings, providing amenity and allowing the conserved buildings to be appreciated in the eclectic neighbourhood. The plaza is a woven tapestry of terracotta and pebblewash strips in varying hues reminiscent of traditional materials and regional ‘sarong’ textiles, giving the development a contemporary yet distinctive character that references its Asian location. These finishes flow into the interior of the glass curtain-walled infill unit, giving a perception of a large, continuous and inviting urban space that integrates the 3 distinct buildings, and provide generous spaces for events and activities.