Neil Road Residence by ONG&ONG
Situated in Singapore, this transitional-style Peranakan shophouse was redesigned in 2013 by ONG&ONG.
Description by ONG&ONG
Located within the conservation district, the House at Neil Road celebrates the charm of the transitional-style Peranakan shophouse while creating sensitive additions and alterations that serve as organic developments within the shophouse’s perimeters.
Akin to traditional shophouses, spaces are structured in series with courtyards between each space. The courtyards become focal positive spaces that negotiate the boundaries between the public and private as well as the old and new. The original courtyard – with its preserved centerpiece of an ornate fish moulding – serves as the heart of the main public space while the new courtyard acts as a pivotal point between the old shophouse and its new extension.
The shophouse walls tell a similar story of progression from old to new, with paintwork along the forecourt’s boundary walls stripped and left unfinished, revealing layers of paintwork and the shophouse’s history. Exposed brick walls reveal old bricks manufactured with local clay that are no longer in production. This creates a stark contrast when juxtaposed with the original courtyard wall – its original blue paintwork and folklore-inspired fresco restored to celebrate the shophouse’s Peranakan heritage.
Other preservation efforts include the restoration of the façade; the original red cement flooring of the five-foot way, living and dining spaces; the original timber flooring and exposed floor joists of the upper levels; and the terrazzo finish for the bathrooms, which highlights an age-old craft that is becoming a dying trade in Singapore. Details such as bathroom vanities accented with glazed Peranakan tiles, the old iron main gate and the “pintu pagar” (Malay for “door gate”) demarcating the master bedroom’s entrance further enrich the authentic tonalities of the shophouse.
With its blending of old and new elements, the House at Neil Road not only preserves a unique cultural heritage, it also acts as a storytelling device that narrates the histories of its past and present occupants.