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  • Writer's pictureIrvin Chia

Corner Terrace! Buildings from the 90s...

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

This project explored the culminated effects of piecemeal renovations throughout the years on the overall space of a home dwelling. In the early 90s, engineers could sign off on A&A designs and renovations without the consent of the architect. Here lies the importance of architectural design. Interesting backstory (TLDR version) - Commissioned to build a 4 units of 2 storey terrace house dwellings in 1980

1980 development typical dwelling section

1993 front elevation

- Plans were BCA approved in 1983. -Fast forward to 1993, the as-built documented by BCA was a 3 storey house.

1983 section

1993 section

- No records of construction between 84' to 93'

Existing Ceiling Beams

What is left is a mess of ceiling beams and undulating heights throughout all levels.

1st floor (demolition phase)

1st floor (demolition phase)

2nd floor (demolition phase)

3rd floor (wet works phase)

This project overall was an exercise to make good of what we had.

The approach we used was to exaggerate ceilings that are high and hide ceilings that are low. The house needed more light and more windows. We had an existing interesting roof tile colour : green. A simple blue-based white with simple black trimmings and the occasional splash of texture and colour for character.

We did not have a confirmed design and layout plan until the last stages of demolition. It was best to start by analyzing and surveying the existing spatial qualities to let those qualities define the function of the spaces instead. This approach is somewhat similar to an ID approach, however not predetermined like apartments or HDBs. This house has alot more space and with more space, we are able to reconfigure circulation.

Here are some features in the project.

Front gate entrance

Side elevation
Car porch

Open lawn, exterior canopy

View from back lawn

Fron door

First perspective

Shoe cabinet

View from the exterior canopy

View from the dry kitchen island

Unique ceiling foilage

Lights for function and ambience

Powder room for guests

Stairwell moon light

New simple handrails


2nd floor common toilet

2nd floor common toilet

3rd floor kids bathroom

3rd floor kids shower


This project was challenging. No accurate drawings, old M&E pathing systems, multiple structural systems, slanting walls and beams and poor existing finishing. It was a challenge to manifest a concept based on the existing hierarchy of the spaces. It had to be something unconventionally yet palatable. This was one project that took time to unveil itself. We did not know what we could do or could not do due to the existing unorthodox structures.

Everything needed to be investigated. Alot more attention to detail is needed when dealing with older builds. Question everything!


The owners are still unpacking. New photos will be updated once available.


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