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Architectural Design Considerations and Space Planning for Landed Homes and Shophouses in Singapore

Architectural Design Considerations and Space Planning for Landed Homes and Shophouses in Singapore
Architectural Design Considerations and Space Planning for Landed Homes and Shophouses in Singapore

When it comes to low density architectural design in Singapore, two unique property types stand out: landed homes and shophouses. These properties offer a canvas for architects to create distinctive and functional spaces that blend modernity with heritage. In this article, we delve into the key architectural considerations and space planning strategies for these property types.

1) Landed Homes: Where Space and Elegance Meet

Landed homes, including bungalows, semi-detached houses, and terraced houses, are favoured for their spaciousness and privacy. However, designing these homes requires a thoughtful approach to maximize their potential. Some common approaches include the following:

1.1) Space Utilization:

The challenge in landed homes is to balance open spaces with functional areas. Open courtyards or garden spaces are excellent iterations which not only enhance aesthetics but also provide natural ventilation and light. With that, the functional spaces could be both inwards and outwards facing to encourage cross ventilation. With more airy spaces, the emotional well-being of its occupants is also improved significantly.

1.2) Vertical Gardens:

In a land-scarce city like Singapore, vertical gardens are a popular choice. These green walls add a touch of nature to the architecture while conserving horizontal space. These vertical greens also help to reduce indoor ambient temperature, thus reducing cooling loads of air-conditioning which leads to savings in utility bill too.

1.3) Modern Amenities:

Many home owners often envision having modern amenities like swimming pools, home theatres, and gyms. However, careful integration of these features into the design ensures a harmonious blend of luxury and functionality.

1.4) Heritage Preservation:

For heritage conservation areas, architectural iterations must respect the historical significance of the property while adapting it for contemporary living. This may involve preserving facades, original structures, and unique architectural features.

2) Shophouses: Bridging Past and Present

2.1) Shophouses are an iconic part of Singapore's architectural heritage. These narrow, two- or three-story buildings offer a glimpse into the city-state's rich history. Modernizing shophouses while preserving their character requires a delicate balance.

Flexible Layouts:

Shophouses are known for their long and narrow layouts. Flexible design concepts are popular choices that allow for easy reconfiguration to accommodate various commercial or residential needs.

Light and Ventilation:

To counter the limitation of space, innovative methods are often used to introduce natural light and ventilation. Atriums, skylights, and light wells are popular and effective solutions.

Heritage Restoration:

In conservation areas designated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), restoring the original charm of shophouses is paramount. This involves careful restoration of facades, intricate details, and ornamental features. Early engagement of a Professional Architect is critical to ensure works are planned according to the regulations at an early stage.

Adaptive Reuse:

Shophouses are adaptable to various uses, from retail and offices to residences. Creative ways are essential to revitalize these spaces efficiently while maintaining their historical significance.

Structural Stability:

As most of the shophouses were built in the early 19th century, the structural frame were designed more than 100 years ago and its integrity would not have been designed to withstand the change of times, especially when adaptive reuse and land intensification comes into play. Structural strengthening and underpinning works may be required before it could continue to serve its new uses. Early engagement of a Professional Engineer is paramount to ensure necessary structural works are designed and accounted for.

Fire Safety: As discussed previously, with most shophouses built more than 100 years ago, most interior building materials used for floor, ceiling and staircases were made of timber, which contravenes with today’s fire regulation. As URA has stringent guidelines about conserving these existing materials in a conservation shophouse, delicate treatment to these timber materials are required such as impregnation of fire retardant chemical and introduction of fire rated boards to slow down fire spread. Early engagement of a Professional Architect is again, an important step towards a hassle free project.

The Archtur Approach

At Archtur, we approach the design of landed homes and shophouses with a deep understanding of their unique characteristics. Our architects are passionate about preserving heritage and crafting modern spaces that enhance the quality of life for its occupants.

Our portfolio showcases a diverse range of projects, from luxurious landed homes that seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living to shophouse restorations that breathe new life into historical structures. Each project tells a unique story, reflecting our commitment to architectural excellence.

In Singapore, where space is scarce and premium, architectural design plays a pivotal role in transforming properties into functional, elegant, and sustainable spaces. Whether it's a sprawling bungalow or a heritage shophouse, Archtur believes that every space has its own narrative waiting to be unveiled through thoughtful architectural design.

As we continue to shape the architectural landscape of Singapore, we remain dedicated to innovation, sustainability, and the preservation of heritage. We invite you to explore our portfolio and witness how architectural design can transform spaces and enrich lives.


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