THE GOOD CLASS BUNGALOW AREAS CONSERVATION AREA
The iconic ‘black-and-white’ and other styles of bungalows built in the 1900s to 1950s were given conservation status from 1991 onwards. They are generally standalone two-storey houses, often with verandahs located along the front and sides of the house, with broad overhanging hipped roofs and set in large grounds. The early bungalows were influenced by Tudor-style construction housing and Malay kampong houses, and catered to the British. The highest ranking colonial officers lived in them, and in later years, the rich local merchant class.
Good Class Bungalow Areas and Fringe include these areas:
- White House Park/Nassim Road Conservation Area
- Chatsworth Park Conservation Area
- Holland Park/Ridout Park Conservation Area
About 65 Good Class Bungalows have been gazetted for conservation.
In these areas, the owner can choose between conserving the entire building, or carry out a subdivision of the rest of the lot for new development plots, if the lot is large enough.
For conservation bungalows located outside of a Good Class Bungalow Area and within a site where flat or condominium development is allowed by the Master Plan, the bungalow may be strata-subdivided into apartment units or converted to a clubhouse.
THE GOOD CLASS BUNGALOW CONSERVATION GUIDELINES
The bungalows are detached buildings which come in a variety of architectural styles and are predominantly for residential use. For bungalows, only the main house needs to be kept. The outhouse can be demolished to make way for new extensions to the main house. Large sites can be subdivided for additional new developments. For a site where flat or condominium housing development can be built, the bungalow can be used for residential purpose or as a clubhouse to serve the development.
UNDERSTANDING THE BUNGALOW : KEY ELEMENTS OF THE BUNGALOW
The conservation guidelines for bungalows are directly related to the typology of the building. Large bungalows, the majority of which were built prior to World War II, are a significant part of Singapore’s heritage. Bungalows are independent dwelling units which are usually one- or two-storeys high. They were first introduced into Singapore and Malaya by the British in the 1830s. They tend to be located in serene and wooded environments away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Quality restoration of a bungalow requires an appreciation and understanding of the architecture of the building.
Bungalows in Singapore normally consist of the main building which houses the main living and dining areas and the bedrooms. An outhouse is normally part of the original design. It is linked back to the main building and houses the kitchen, toilets and servants’ quarters.
In conserving a bungalow, the key elements to be respected are as follows:
(b) Structural Members
(c) The Facades of the Building
(d) Doors and Windows
(e) Significant Interior Features Including Staircases, Decorative Mouldings, Double Volume Spaces, etc
The design and material of the bungalows vary according to the architectural style of the building. Singapore bungalows fall into five styles. They are the Early Bungalow, the Victorian Bungalow, the Black & White Bungalow, the Art Deco Bungalow and the Modern Bungalow.
The conservation guidelines relate to the main features of each bungalow type with the intention of retaining the key characteristics of the conserved bungalow. In adapting the building to suit present day needs, the outhouse may be demolished and new extensions may be permitted for additional floor area and greater flexibility of use of the building and the site.
Bungalows are independent dwelling units usually of one- or two-storeys. They tend to be located in serene and wooded environments away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Bungalows were first introduced into Singapore and Malaya by the British in the 1830s. The early versions of the bungalow were largely one-storey and had timber floors elevated on brick piers or timber posts to allow air circulation underneath.
The old bungalows in Singapore generally fall into five types. These are:
1 The Early Bungalow (1860s)
This bungalow is characterised by single storey buildings on stilts constructed either of timber or masonry.
2 The Victorian Bungalow (1870-1890s)
This bungalow is characterised by the heavy application of decorative ornamentation on the facade.
3 The Black and White Bungalow (1900-1920s)
This bungalow is characterised by its half-timber construction, broad, simple,over-hanging hipped roof and the sharp definition of openings in the plain whitewalls.
4 The Art Deco Bungalow (Late 1920s-1930s)
This bungalow is characterised by the simple, geometric streamlining of the classical motifs on its facade.
5 The Modern Bungalow (1950s-1960s)
This bungalow is characterised by its geometric, free-form approach.
GOOD CLASS BUNGALOW PLANNING PARAMETERS
The Good Class Bungalow conservation Areas :
(a) Good Class Bungalow Areas
i. Chatsworth Park
ii. Holland Park & Ridout Road
iii. Nassim Road & White House Park
The use shall follow the Master Plan intention for the respective areas.
The plot ratio for the bungalows within the Good Class Bungalow Areas, shall be the resultant of the building envelope of the conservation building or part thereof to be conserved, as well as that of the new extension(s), if any, which are to comply with the development control and planning guidelines for the areas.
Conserved bungalows and Intensification
The applicant can consider the following options:
(a) To conserve the entire bungalow including the outhouse.
(b) To conserve only the main building. If there is vacant land to the rear or sides, new extensions can be added subject to Development Control guidelines, the allowable building height of the area, and the requirements of relevant technical departments.
New extensions are not to adversely affect the visibility of the conserved bungalows. In other words, the conserved bungalows are to be clearly discernible from the new developments.
Setbacks and interfacing zones are to be maintained so that there is articulation between the old and the new.
To safeguard the prominence of the conserved bungalow, the new extensions are to be recessed from the front facade line of the conserved bungalow and restricted to the rear wherever possible. Exceptions can be considered based on merits of the case if extensions are located at a considerable distance away from the conserved bungalow.
The new extensions are also to comply with the prevailing Development Control guidelines such as boundary setback and buffer provisions.
An interfacing zone is to be provided around the conservation building to separate it from the new extensions. The new extensions generally cannot encroach onto the interfacing zone, although proposals to make use of the interfacing zone to integrate the old and new buildings may be allowed subject to evaluation on the effectiveness and suitability of such proposals from the architectural point of view.
Linkages can be added between the new extensions and the conserved bungalow. The new extensions are not to abut the conserved bungalow directly as this will obliterate the original features on the facades. The design of the new extensions is to be compatible to the conserved bungalow. Compatibility need not, however, mean a direct replication of the conserved bungalow.
Subdivision of good class bungalow land
For bungalows located on larger sites, the land can be subdivided to accommodate the conserved bungalow and for redevelopment of the remaining site.
In the Good Class Bungalow Areas, as a concession to facilitate the subdivision of land, one sub-standard plot size of not less than 1000 sq m can be considered provided the total land area together with the conserved bungalow plot is not less than 2800 sq m.
Under the Planning Act, development charge, equivalent to the difference between the Development Baseline and the Development Ceiling for that land, is payable in respect of any development of the land or when there is a change in the use of the land or building.
Exemption from payment of development charge, if applicable, is given in respect of the value enhancement arising from the proposed use or use changes on the gross floor area for the building or part thereof on the land to be conserved provided that such conservation is carried out in accordance with the approved plans and completed within a period of 2 years from the date of conservation permission.
Development charge, where applicable, shall be leviable to the new extension(s), as well as to any new floor areas e.g. roof mezzanines within the envelope of the building to be conserved.
The above serve only as broad guidelines and are not meant to dictate developments on the sites. The detailed parameters and guidelines for each site will be established with the applicants at the planning application stage by URA.
SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
Founded at its present site in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was part of a long colonial tradition of creating European-style botanical gardens in the tropics. The Gardens were used to study native plants, useful or revenue-earning crops and ornamental plant cultivation.
4 bungalows within the Gardens, ie Ridley Hall, Burkill Hall, Holttum Hall and E J H Corner House, were given conservation status on 23 May 2008. Besides offering visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle of the early Directors of the Gardens, the conserved buildings serve as key identity markers for the generations of Singaporeans who have strolled across the scenic grounds.
Built in 1883, Ridley Hall is a simple one-storey building with pitched tiled roof. Its modest appearance belies its historical significance not just for the Gardens, but for Singapore and the region as well. It is one of the oldest structures in the SBG and was used by Henry Nicholas Ridley as his office and laboratory. Ridley was the first director of the SBG from 1888-1912, and is most well-known for orchestrating the birth of the rubber industry that transformed the economic landscape of Malaya, thus bringing prosperity to the region.
Burkill Hall, built in 1886, is a two-storey bungalow designed in the popular “Black and White” style. The distinctive design, with verandahs on the upper floor and a central forward-projecting entrance porch, was influenced by the local “plantation house”, so called because it usually formed the focus of an agricultural estate.
Burkill Hall was named in honour of two former Directors of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Isaac Henry Burkill, and his son Humphrey Morrison Burkill. The former was the Director of the SBG from 1912 to 1925. His research led to the publication of the “Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malaya Peninsular (1935)”, still one of the most comprehensive texts on the historical uses of tropical plants. His son, Humphrey Morrison Burkill was the Director of the SBG from 1957 to 1969. He was instrumental in establishing a scheme to attract foreign research botanists to Singapore.
Built in 1920, Holttum Hall is a symmetrical 2-storey building set in the midst of lush greenery. It has a compact form that is topped by a hipped gable roof. The design appears to have been influenced by the British vernacular style with Classical elements.
Holttum Hall once served as the office and laboratory of Eric Holttum, Assistant Director of the Gardens from 1922-1925, and then Director from 1925-1949. An eminent botanist and an expert on ferns, orchids and gingers, he was later appointed the first Professor of Botany at the University of Malaya from 1949-1954.
E J H Corner House
Buit in the 1920s, E J H Corner House is a two-storey symmetrical “Black and White” bungalow nestled among lush vegetation at the top of a slope. Its compact form and more intimate scale give it a charming air that blends in well with the garden setting.
The building was named after Eldred John Henry Corner, the Assistant Director of the Gardens from 1929 to 1945. He specialized in mycology, mainly in the collection and study of local fungi, and the ecological study of swamp forests. He was also known as the author of the book “Wayside Trees of Malaya”.
To complement the historic character of the Gardens, 2 heritage structures, ie the Bandstand and Swan Lake Gazebo, were also conserved on 3 December 2009.
The present octagonal Bandstand was built in 1930 and staged early evening performances by military bands for many years. Though no longer used for music, the Bandstand continues to be one of the best-known features of the Gardens.
Gallop Road Houses
No. 5 and No. 7 Gallop Road, are two colonial houses that were built around the turn of the 20th century. They were both designed by R.A.J Bidwell, a renowned architect who also designed Raffles Hotel and Goodwood Park Hotel some 100 years ago. The houses reflect the unique architecture of the British colonial government at that time in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, with their broad eaves, generous verandas and moorish arches. The houses and their grounds are intrinsically tied to the Singapore Botanic Gardens as part of the landscape masterplan for the Cluny estate.
Forest Conservation Interpretive Centre (No. 5 ‘Atbara’)
One of two colonial houses along Gallop Road, No. 5, also known as ‘Atbara’, will serve as the Forest Conservation Interpretive Centre – exhibiting the latest discoveries on Singapore’s native habitats, and the work that goes into researching and sustaining them. The exhibits in this Centre will summarise the outdoor visitor experience both in the Learning Forest and Gallop Road. It will introduce visitors to the ecology of Singapore’s forests, showcase ongoing work to understand and conserve terrestrial biodiversity, and encourage visitors to contribute to the various conservation efforts. With an unobstructed view of the surrounding forest, the Centre will support organised group activities related to citizen science and public involvement for conservation. Visitors can look forward to interactive displays which will engage and share information about the processes involved in forest conservation. For example, visitors will get to identify native plants using interactive keys, and explore animal sightings using interactive maps. Lessons on ecology and evolution will also be delivered through games that simulate the processes taking place within a rainforest.
Natural History Art Gallery (No. 7 ‘Inverturret’)
No. 7 Gallop Road, also known as ‘Inverturret’, will showcase how art has played a vital role in the scientific documentation of fauna and flora. The gallery will be the home of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ botanical art collection, showcasing pieces which have been carefully collected over the past 125 years. With some of its earliest works dating back to 1890, the Singapore Botanic Gardens has one of the largest and best preserved botanical art collections in Asia, with more than 2,000 art pieces in its care. The collection at the Natural History Art Gallery will feature botanical illustrations in various artistic styles from watercolours, ink drawings to wood block carvings. The building will feature changing exhibitions of art and artefacts of natural history from the Gardens itself, as well as other botanic gardens and galleries around the world. Artwork and photographs from the community will also be showcased, collated from winning entries of the workshops and photography competitions organised by NParks. The gallery will include some 705 art pieces on orchid species and hybrids, and 357 pieces on nationally-threatened or extinct species.
News 1 : No takers for some colonial bungalows in S’pore
SINGAPORE — Some of Singapore’s iconic black and white bungalows continue to stay vacant, as the authorities find it difficult to attract residential tenants.
House number 7 along Gallop Road has been launched three times for bidding, but in the last six months, there have not been any takers.
This house was built during the colonial era, and used to house the French Embassy. Its monthly rental is more than S$50,000.
The “Atbara House” next door, which is going at S$43,000 per month, also faces the same problem.
Mr Chris, director of Chris International, said: “There must be someone willing to pay. We’re talking about a premium because of (the size and location) of the sites — that could be one. Number two is there’s a lot of upkeeping of the place.”
Mr Ku Swee Yong, CEO of Century 21 Singapore, said: “If we rent these out to private companies for marketing events, or as corporate training centres, then we could see more bids.”
There are about 500 of these bungalows in Singapore, located in central areas like Nassim Road, Goodwood Hill and Bukit Timah, as well as in areas further from the city, like Alexandra Park, Sembawang and Seletar.
They are all state-managed, and to date, 90 per cent are used for residential purposes.
A small proportion has been rented out to food and beverage outlets.
-BY LIP KWOK WAI; PUBLISHED: 9:47 PM, JANUARY 12, 2014 CHANNEL NEWSASIA
URA architect Loy Ju-Lin oversaw a two-year-long project to restore two historic structures in Gallop Road – now part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ new 82ha compound.
News 2 : Back to their black and white splendour: 2 bungalows now part of Botanic Gardens’ compound.
Bats flew out of a dilapidated 1906 bungalow perched atop a hill, where they had made their home in the vacant No. 7 Gallop Road.
Next door, a black and white bungalow was similarly run down – termites had attacked its timber features, including the floorboards, roof structure and carriage porch.
Architect Loy Ju-Lin from the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA’s) conservation team recalled how the bats started flying out of No. 7 when she first went in.
“The creatures had occupied the central room on the building’s second floor, and there were bat droppings across the space,” she said.
Ms Loy oversaw a two-year-long project to restore the two historic structures, which became part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ new 82ha compound last month.
By 2018, No. 5 will house the new forest conservation interpretive centre while No. 7 will be home to the Unesco World Heritage Site’s first natural art history gallery.
The buildings on rolling grounds were restored in 2011 and 2012 by SA Chua Architects. The URA documented the houses and guided the restoration work.
Ms Loy said the restoration process involved replacing No. 5’s damaged timber structures and six of its tilted basement columns, as well as No. 7’s damaged timber components.
The URA describes No. 5 as a “major milestone” in the development of the black and white style in Singapore. The 1898 house is the earliest known and oldest surviving black and white building here, according to the book Black And White: The Singapore House 1898-1941 by Mr Julian Davison.
The two buildings hark back to a time when the area featured large country estates owned by rich landowners. The Gallop Road area was often used as exercise grounds for horses. To create a sense of arrival, visitors would have to travel up a long winding carriageway to reach the homes.
The two newly-restored bungalows were developed by architect Regent Alfred John Bidwell, who also designed national monuments Raffles and Goodwood Park hotels.
No. 5’s front carriage porch is influenced by gothic architecture. It also has a stairway and columns with Moorish ornamental features not usually found in black and white houses.
The glass windows of No. 7 were made using the 14th-century crown glass technique in which glass is spun into small panes. This results in the pane having a thick circle at its centre which looks like the base of a bottle.
Also known as Atbara, the 1,111 sq m house at No. 5 was owned by John Burkinshaw, a member of the legislative council who also established one of Singapore’s oldest law firms.
In 1903, the house and its surroundings were sold to Charles MacArthur – one of the earliest chairmen of the Straits Trading Company. He built No. 7, a 1,270 sq m house known as Inverturret.
Both houses were bought by the Straits Trading Company in 1923, then leased to the French government for its embassy and ambassador’s residence between 1939 and 1999.
Heritage experts welcomed the move to open up the relatively private space to the public.
Heritage law expert Kevin Tan said: “These buildings are very old and historically significant. They add value to the Gardens and make it even more desirable for visitors to want to stop by.”
-PUBLISHED Melody Zaccheus DEC 7, 2015, 5:00 AM SGT The Straits Times, ST PHOTOS: ALICIA CHAN
The Swan Lake Gazebo is a Victorian cast-iron shelter. It was built in the 1850s and stood for many years at an old house in Grange Road. In 1969 it was dismantled and transported to the Botanic Gardens.
NASSIM ROAD/WHITEHOUSE PARK CONSERVATION AREA
Good Class Bungalow Area
Extending from Cluny Road that borders the Botanic Gardens to Stevens Road to the east, and Bukit Timah Road to the north and Nassim Road to the south, the Nassim Road/White House Park Good Class Bungalow Area is an expansive residential area that boasts 14 conserved bungalows mainly of Victorian, Art Deco and Black and White Bungalow styles.
Nassim Road evokes much of Singapore’s past splendid environmental qualities: rich landscape, sweeping lawns and grand mansions. Now, a number of these fine houses are occupied by Embassies, High Commissions and private companies. Nassim Road runs between Dalvey Road near the old Bukit Timah University campus and Tanglin Road.
White House Park is a 194,138-square-foot estate sited on White House Park Road and Dalvey Road. It lies within a designated Good Class Bungalow area, where bungalow development requirements stipulate a minimum plot size of 1,400 sq m and a maximum two-storey height. These requirements ensure that the exclusivity and low-rise character of the area are preserved. In 1991, the Urban Redevelopment Authority earmarked some areas, including the White House Park and Nassim Road area, for conservation.
White House Park once stood on a vast 54-acre nutmeg and betel nut plantation owned by Gilbert Angus (1815-1887) who started off as a bookkeeper but ventured on his own into business as an auctioneer. By 1862, he had sold the White House Park area to Reme Leveson & Company, a firm of insurance agents. The next known proprietor was John Fraser of Fraser & Neave who was involved in many diverse businesses – such as a company formed with James Cumming to make bricks and carry out development in the White House Park area.
Originally, there were four houses in the White House Park estate, all of which were built in the 19th century. Whitehouse had existed in 1862 and was possibly built by Gilbert Angus. Fraser built the other three houses: Cree Hall and Sentosa between 1875 and 1880 and Glencaird in 1897. John Fraser himself had lived in Cree Hall. In 1908, Mansfield and Company purchased one or two of the houses and in the 1920s erected a few more houses as staff quarters. It was not known when Whitehouse and Sentosa were demolished but Cree Hall was demolished sometime after 1967 when the Housing and Development Board acquired the land.
Of the original four houses in the White House Park estate, only Glencaird at No.15 White House Park remains standing today. The house has retained its original features despite alterations carried out throughout the years. It was designed by Regent Alfred John Bidwell of Swan & Maclaren and was unusually asymmetrical, having the entrance at a corner instead of the centre of the house. The placement of the living room was also unconventional so as to take advantage of the pleasant views.
In 1947, the government of Australia bought Glencaird at No.15 White House Park and it became the official residence of the Australian High Commissioner. It was one of the Good class bungalows that were given conservation status in 1991, and later incorporated as part of a 12-unit development called the Glencaird Residences that was completed in 1999. The Australian High Commission put up the Glencaird site for sale in 1994 and sold it to Wheelock Properties in 1996. Based on the minimum plot size of 15,000 sq ft for each bungalow, it was estimated that 12 bungalows could be developed on the plot. Since Glencaird must be conserved, 11 more could be built. Wharf Holdings bought the freehold site for S$98 million and Marco Polo Developments became its developer. Wharf and Marco Polo are part of Hong Kong’s Wheelock Group. Exemplary restoration efforts of Glencaird as part of this new development received the URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2000.
A 12-unit development, Glencaird Residences, was completed in 1999. The new good class bungalows were designed by Argentinian Ernesto Bedmar, and they reflected a tropical architecture that was clean and elegant. The group of 12 Good Class bungalows, each enjoying a unique and luxurious architectural style, sits on gently undulating grounds in the prestigious residential district of White House Park and Dalvey Road Good Class bungalows Area (GCBA).
No two of the Good Class bungalows are alike, each possessing its own unique ambience and distinctive character, with a private pool area for alfresco entertaining or simply reading and relaxing.
Glencaird Residences affords a perfect view of the greenest areas of Singapore. It is set in the prestigious Good Class bungalows district, yet is just a short drive away from the Tanglin Club, the American Club, the Botanic Gardens, the Shangri-La Hotel and Orchard Road shopping area.
The restored Glencaird at No.15 White House Park had a price tag in the region of S$22 million, while the other 11 new units were priced at an average S$14 million each. In 2007, Glencaird at No.15 White House Park was finally sold to a mystery buyer at a record price of S$29 million.
The earliest purpose-built accommodation for civil servants seems to have been the estates at Goodwood Hill, Nassim Road and Seton Close, which were developed around 1910. Evidently, the government architects who designed these houses for the officers in Singapore’s burgeoning colonial administration were influenced by the new Black and White style which was just reaching the height of fashion at this time. However, it is equally likely that these early Black and White houses designed by the Public Works Department were also inspired by the ‘plantation houses’ of the mid-19th century – large country mansions, square in plan, with broad eaves and verandahs on all sides. Typically, the upper storey is extended outwards over a forward-projecting carriage porch or porte cochère.
Glencaird and Cree Hall were two late-Victorian houses commissioned by John Fraser on the White House Park estate between Stevens Road and Whitley Road. They were designed by R.A.J. Bidwell of Swan and Maclaren and departed radically from the typical late-19th century house in Singapore, in their rejection of classical symmetry in favour of an asymmetrical plan, accentuated by a dramatic, turret-like, three-storey stair hall to one side. Glencaird and Cree Hall were also unusual in Singapore at that time in their eclectic use of materials and architectural elements which included expanses of unrendered brickwork, quoins and rusticated archways with huge, white-stuccoed voussoirs, favourite devices of Bidwell.
Of the original four houses in the White House Park estate, only Glencaird at No.15 White House Park remains standing today. Uniquely asymmetrical, the residence entrance was placed at a corner instead of the centre of the house. The placement of the living room was also unconventional so as to take advantage of the pleasant views. The Glencaird bungalow was conserved in 1991 and later incorporated as part of a 12-unit development called the Glencaird Residences that was completed in 1999. Exemplary restoration efforts of Glencaird as part of this new development received the URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2000.
The residence of the French ambassador, a two-storey Black and White house in Cluny Park Road, was designed by Frank W. Brewer, an English architect who designed some of the most prominent buildings in Singapore in the mid-20th century including the first modern high-rise, the Cathay Building. This two-storey residence was originally built for Messrs. Sandilands Buttery & Co. Ltd in 1923. Distinctive Brewer-esque elements featured in this unique house are buttressed walls, oriole windows, exposed brick voussoirs around the arches and roughcast plasterwork.
No.1 Dalvey Estate Good Class Bungalow, another Frank W. Brewer masterpiece, was commissioned by E.A. Barbour & Co. in 1927. This residence has all the classic Brewer hallmarks: flared eaves, buttressed walls, oriole windows, bay windows with flared base and exposed brick voussoirs. This impression of robustness and solidity was another characteristic of Brewer’s residential work. In recent years, No.1 Dalvey Estate belonged to the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong, Singapore’s first elected President and himself an architect. Renovations and extensions to the house by his own practice, Ong & Ong Architects, won the URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2001.
Eden Hall at 28 Nassim Road was built in 1904 for Ezekiel Saleh Manasseh on a four and a half-acre plot which used to be part of a nutmeg plantation. Manasseh did not initially live in Eden Hall on its completion, but rented it to Mrs Campbell, who ran it as a boarding house. In 1916 Ezekiel Manasseh married an English widow, Elsie Trilby Bath, and they moved to Eden Hall with Trilby’s two children Molly and Vivian. During the Second World War, Eden Hall was occupied by the Japanese who used it as an officers’ mess. However, they took good care of the house and furniture, and left intact the wrought-iron staircase which has the initial “M” incorporated into its design.
Vivian Bath, the step-son of Manasseh, on his return to Singapore after the war, regained possession of Eden Hall, which had been requisitioned for use by the British forces. When Vivian Bath decided to retire to Australia, he sold Eden Hall to the British Government in 1957 for a nominal sum, with the stipulation that a plaque be installed at the bottom of the flagpole, which reads “May the Union Jack fly here forever”. Eden Hall is presently the residence of the British High Commissioner.
The Nassim Road/White House Park Good Class Bungalow Area has an exquisite stock of period bungalows that represent the culture and lifestyle of a particular time in Singapore’s history.
No.2 Dalvey Estate Good Class Bungalow, a Black and White single-storey bungalow, is testimony of how painstaking restoration work has effortlessly blended gracious modern living with old world charms. The project received the URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2003.
No.24 Nassim Road Good Class Bungalow is a two-storey Victorian-styled bungalow built in the 1920s. The main building was restored and the internal layout was reconfigured to cater for comfortable modern living. This project received the URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2001.
Gazetted on 29 November 1991 for conservation
Julian Davison, Black and White: The Singapore House 1898 – 1941
Lee Kip Lin, The Singapore House:1819 – 1942
Norman Edwards & Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places
Good Class Bungalow Area
Bounded by Ridout Road, Peirce Road, Holland Road and Queensway, the Ridout Road/Holland Park conservation area consists of 27 conserved bungalows mainly of the Art Deco and Black and White Bungalow styles.
The increased military presence in Singapore from the early 1920s onwards required that existing facilities be expanded in order to accommodate the growing number of military personnel stationed on the island. The Black and White style (as perfected by the architects of the Public Works Department (PWD) for civil servants) was again a natural choice as accommodation for officers. Ridout Road and Ridley Park, to the north and south of Tanglin Barracks respectively, were the earliest of the postwar military estates to be built in the ‘20s as married quarters for officers and their families.
Once a part of the Ulu Pandan Rubber Estate, the area still hosts a concentration of some of Singapore’s best surviving examples of colonial bungalows along Swettenham, Peirce, Ridout and Peel Roads.
Although the houses designed by the PWD before the First World War had looked back to the ‘plantation house’ designs of the 19th century, the influence on these postwar residences seem to have been more contemporary, namely that of the leading architectural practice at the time, Swan & Maclaren – visible in the asymmetric, compact plan, pared-down Classicism and absence of elaborate decorative detailing.
Swettenham Road was probably named after Sir Frank Swettenham who was Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner in 1901-1903. Along Ridout Road, there are two houses designed by the notable architect Frank W. Brewer, who employed a distinctive style inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement in the tropical houses he designed during his 30 years in Singapore. His signature elements evident in the house of L.W. Geddes at Ridout Road are the exposed bricks and textured plasterwork.
These bungalows still dot the lush tropical landscape of Ridout Road/Holland Park, thriving examples of the unique fashion of colonial living in the tropics.
23 Ridout Road
2 Pierce Drive
Constructed with timber frames, 2 Pierce Drive is typified by the streamling of classical motifs to simple geometric patterns and designs and interlocking clay roof tiles.
Gretchen Liu, Singapore: Pictorial History 1819 – 2000
Julian Davison, Black and White: The Singapore House 1898 – 1941
Norman Edwards & Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places
CHATSWORTH PARK CONSERVATION AREA
ABOUT CHATSWORTH PARK
Bounded by Tanglin Road, Jervois road, Cable Road, Nathan Road and Grange Road, the Chatsworth Park Good Class Bungalow Area is one of the finest residential areas in Singapore. This conservation area consists of 27 conserved bungalows mainly of the Art Deco and ‘Black and White’ Bungalow styles.
The conserved houses presently in the area were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Many were privately owned by firms such as McAlister & Co., Cable & Wireless, the Straits Trading Company and the Firestone Rubber Company as accommodation for their expatriate staff. The verdant landscape settings are just as impressive as the fine residences themselves.
The end of the First World War precipitated a boom in house-building in Singapore. After the war, architects in Singapore simply picked up from where they had left off four years previously, which included a return to the ‘Black and White’ house style of the prewar years; some of the finest Black and White houses belong to that early postwar period. Between 1919 and 1923, over sixty tropical ‘Mock Tudor’-style houses were commissioned and built in the private sector and in terms of numbers, this period represents the high water mark of the ‘Black and White’ house.
The Eastern Extension Australasia & China (EEA&C) Telegraph Co. was one of Swan & Maclaren’s biggest clients in the immediate postwar era, commissioning eight houses for the company’s new residential estate between Jervois Road and Nathan Road (Holt Road and Cable Road were built to provide access to the estate). Because of the nature of the site, some of the houses were set back from the driveway, requiring a covered way extending to the front door to afford visitors protection from Singapore’s fierce tropic sun and torrential monsoon rain.
No.2 Cable Road Good Class Bungalow is a good example of the tropical Edwardian style house, built for Municipal Commissioner, Mohamed Namazie. Designed in 1913 by David McLeod Craik, a former government architect in the Municipal Engineer’s office who had just joined Swan & Maclaren after some time in practice on his own, the Namazie house was one of his first commissions for the firm. The ground plan is square, and the rooms are organized in terms of their use and patterns of circulation through the house rather than subscribing to any notion of Classical symmetry. A distinctive feature is the main entrance porch which is placed at one corner and set at an angle of 45 degrees to the main body of the house; this was quite a popular configuration at the time. A light and airy sitting verandah, with timber shutters and glazing, extends from the drawing room over the porch and each bedroom on the first floor has its own private balcony or verandah. The whole is surmounted by a pyramidal roof, topped by a lantern-like jack roof, which helps to light and provide ventilation for the centre of the house.
Founded in 1857, McAlister & Co. was one of the longest-established trading houses during the colonial era. From the beginning of the 20th century its principal business interests lay in shipping, coal and exports. In 1920, Swan & Maclaren were commissioned to build a mess and four bungalows for the firm on Cable Road. All the major European firms in Singapore at that time had a mess for unmarried members of staff – a place where bachelors lived and took their meals together. The McAlister mess built by Swan & Maclaren in 1920 is still standing, and embraces the quintessential elements of the classic postwar Black and White house. The other McAlister & Co. bungalows on Cable Road are interesting because they are built on the ground in the Anglo-Indian manner, rather than being raised on piers in the Anglo-Malay style.
A substantial number of beautiful Black and White houses still grace the grounds along Cable Road, Chatsworth Park and Chatsworth Road.
No.3 Chatsworth Park Good Class Bungalow, a two-storey Art Deco bungalow, was designed by Frank Brewer and built in 1923. The building was awarded a URA Architectural Heritage Award in 1997 for careful restoration of many key features of the conserved main building, including its brick arches with their keystones and fair-faced brick bases and the addition of contemporary new extensions to its rear and side.
No.14 Cable Road Good Class Bungalow, once a mess hall used by staff of McAlister & Co., has reinvented itself from a classic mock-Tudor style Black and White house into a contemporary family home, complete with a masterfully designed new annexe with careful choice of materials and colour scheme. The project was awarded a URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2008.
The bungalows were gazetted on 29 November 1991 for conservation. Only No. 2 Holt Road was gazetted on 3 October 1992 for conservation.
Conservation Vision and Principles
Conservation of our built heritage is an important part of urban planning and development in Singapore. Historic areas like Boat Quay, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, and Little India add variety and visual interest to our urban environment. The conservation of these buildings and areas is testament to our rich historical, architectural, and cultural heritage. Conserving and restoring our historic buildings also adds to the distinctive character and identity of our city. More importantly, they give us a sense of history and memory even as we move into the future.
Our historic buildings and districts give us a visual and physical link to Singapore’s past in our changing urban landscape. However, Conservation is much more than just preserving a facade or the external shell of a building. It is also important that we retain the inherent spirit and original ambience of these historic buildings as far as possible. This requires an appreciation and understanding of the architectural structure of the buildings, good management, and practice in conserving buildings.
THE “3R” PRINCIPLE: MAXIMUM RETENTION, SENSITIVE RESTORATION AND CAREFUL REPAIR
Buildings earmarked for conservation need to follow our conservation principles. Owners, architects, engineers, and contractors should try to apply the “3Rs” in their conservation projects, which help guide them towards quality restoration. These principles apply no matter how small or how large the heritage building is.
The original structure and architectural elements of historic buildings should be retained and restored as far as possible, without reconstructing the entire building. Parts of the building should only be replaced when it is absolutely necessary. Before any conservation work begins, thorough research and documentation should be carried out on the conservation building to ensure that quality restoration work is carried out through careful and accurate repair. This process helps ensure that conservation works adhere to the 3R principle.
Architectural Heritage Awards
The URA Architectural Heritage Awards was launched in 1995 to recognize well-restored monuments and conserved buildings in Singapore. The annual awards honour owners, insightful developers, sensitive architects, engineers, as well as contractors who have displayed the highest standards in conserving and restoring heritage buildings for continued use. The awards also promote public awareness and appreciation of quality restoration of monuments and buildings in Singapore.
URA generally call for submissions for the Award in April each year, and the winners will be announced in September/October of that year.
All preservation and conservation works are carried out at 7 levels, which vary from project to project. In order of complexity, they are:
- maintaining the essential character of the building
- preventing further deterioration
- consolidating the fabric of the building
- restoring the building to original design and material
- rehabilitating the building without destroying its character
- replacing missing significant features of the building
- rebuilding severely damaged parts of the building
While restoring a building, owners and contractors should use the “top-down” approach. Conservation works should start from the roof, and then work downwards. This method ensures the building remains structurally stable and minimises weather damage during the works.
View URA Architectural Heritage Awards winners : [ click on image to find out more]
No.2 Cable Road Good Class Bungalow
No.14 Cable Road Good Class Bungalow
1F Cluny Road Bungalow(Bukit Timah Guild House)
No. 1 Dalvey Estate Good Class Bungalow
No. 2 Dalvey Estate Good Class Bungalow
No. 24 Nassim RoadGood Class Bungalow
2 Peirce Road Good Class Bungalow
(Glencaird) No. 15 Whitehouse Park Good Class Bungalow
N.B: Write-up and photos credited to the Urban Redevelopment Authority URA.
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