(image: Courtesy of Talisman Publishing)
Good Class Bungalows are the jewels of Singapore property.
They are the biggest of all bungalows and a rarity, with only about 2,800 set on prime plots on the island. While some bungalows are historic buildings that are more than 100 years old, others have been built in a contemporary style in recent years.
A number are secluded on the slopes of the few remaining hills in Singapore — Bukit Tunggal, Caldecott Hill and Cluny Hill — on the sites of the country’s first plantations.
Set in lush gardens, these dwellings are the subject of the 2016 book Singapore Good Class Bungalow 1819-2015 by British architect and academic Robert Powell. It traces almost 200 years of the history of Singapore bungalows. In his book, Professor Powell writes that the term Good Class Bungalow Area was first mentioned in the revised masterplan by the then Ministry of National Development in 1980, in an effort to protect the “high environment quality” of the larger bungalows from the intrusion of other intensive development.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), there are now about 65 Good Class Bungalows that have been gazetted for conservation. Each plot can fetch between $15.7 million and $44.5 million, per Knight Frank Research data for 2016’s transaction prices.
Here you can read more about some homes featured in the book, as well as other standout Good Class Bungalows around the island.
(image: Courtesy of King Albert Park Development)
In taking on the King Albert Park project in 2013, Yip Yuen Hong of ipli Architects – a four-time President’s Design Award winner and the personification of minimalist architecture – was inspired by Singapore’s black-and-white houses. “The black-and-white bungalows exude quiet elegance, and are the epitome of slow living,” he explains.
His four homes within King Albert Park (House 19 is shown here) have common features, which include a sloping roof, effective for rainwater runoff, as well as deep verandahs and terraces to buffer the interiors from direct sunlight and provide comfortable and usable semi-outdoor spaces.
(image: Courtesy of Talisman Publishing)
Putting a modern extension in front of a 103-year-old tropical Edwardian-style bungalow is not something most architects might do.
But Rene Tan and Quek Tse Kwang of RT+Q Architects did just that when they were commissioned by K.T. Ong, managing director of interior furnishings company Vanguard Interiors, to restore his house in 2010 and add a new extension for his two grown-up children.
The house, which is on the cover of the Singapore Good Class Bungalow book, was originally designed by Scottish architect David McLeod Craik and built for a municipal councillor of Persian origin in 1913. The renovation project won an Urban Redevelopment Authority Architectural Heritage Award in 2011.
(image: Albert Lim KS, courtesy of Talisman Publishing)
The design of modern bungalows mitigates the effects of climate change with inventive solutions such as surrounding a living area with a pond — for example, The Willow House in Cluny Hill (shown here) — and using charcoal logs to clad the entrance facade such as at Cornwall Gardens House (not shown). Charcoal is known to filter rain and “clean” the air.
(image: Marc Tey, courtesy of Wallflower Architecture + Design)
In a quiet residential neighbourhood off Bukit Timah, with sweeping views of greenery and central Singapore, The See-Through House is a study in simplicity, serenity and — as the name implies — transparency.
The residence was the first of six new homes developed on a 120,000-square-foot property by one family. The See-Through House was designed by Robin Tan of Wallflower Architecture + Design and completed in 2016.
The See-Through House occupies a front corner of the original plot and comprises a pair of identical two-storey stacked rectangular blocks separated by a pool and garden, with a large Tembusu tree taking pride of place in the courtyard-like garden.
Some text adapted from www.businesstimes.com.sg, www.straitstimes.com and www.thepeakmagazine.com.sg / Additional reporting by Sara Lyle Bow, 21 August 2018.
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