Designed by CHANG Architects, this shophouse is located along Joo Chiat Place, in a conservation shophouse district in the secondary settlement areas of Joo Chiat and Katong in Singapore. The conservation guidelines for this area require the front portion to be conserved and restored, while the rear portion can be redeveloped to a maximum of 4 storeys. For this stretch of shophouses, the guidelines require any new redevelopment to be converted for residential purposes.
Built in the 1920s, this shophouse used to be a book shop called The Lucky Book Store. The ground floor was the retail area, while the upper level was partitioned for storage. Behind this shophouse was a long, narrow concreted vacated land. Surrounded by 3 to 4-storey service apartments and semi-detached houses, a portion of its side faces a back lane, franked by houses on both sides.
Internally, non-structural partitions were removed so that the spaces, the old brick walls, timber rafters and floor joists, can be better appreciated. These were carefully restored, cleaned and protected. A row of cavities on the walls are left exposed to provide clues of how the spaces were once configured, indicative of floor joists supporting a mezzanine for additional storage space.
The entire project was economically constructed. It responds to the local tropical climate with low energy consumption as the spaces are generally day-lit and naturally ventilated. The final result brings back fond memories of the couple’s childhood days – the days of living in a community where homes were interconnected social spaces; of spaces that were simple and adaptive; and how the rituals of everyday life were enriched by architecture.