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  • Writer's pictureIrvin Chia

No conventions please. GCB Extension!

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Dear all, This was the highlight project in the last couple of years.

Circa 2021

~7m x 15m

The design process took months and finally; Keywords from the client: derelict, unfinished, grunge, concrete, rust, non-conventional. What a blessing. We explored over 10 typologies and the keyword we landed on was Juxtaposition.

And here it was.

Artists' impression

A simple box plan, where services reside in the west volume, and lounging spaces on the east volume

To create 2 volumes, connected by glass atriums for naturally lit interiors with a north-south facing facade


The 3D rendering does not do it justice, so lets just start the slide show.



RGB facade

Smart lighting that interconnects with interior lights

Black corrugated sheet metal cladding

Let's take a look at some interesting spaces.

The house apron serves as a soft barrier between the outdoor parking/courtyard and the interior

Custom ceiling paint work, mild steel staircase structure

Tunable lights, flexible interior moods

Glass facade that plays with the internal lights

The 4 light columns that tie the 3 floors together

Basement entertainment room (warmth)

Basement entertainment room (sterile)

Basement entertainment room (matrix)

Basement bar

Mirror ceiling

Bar display

Behind the bar

Wainscotting/wall moulding in custom paint

3.8m x 3.8m

Drink storage with uplight

Powder room for guests

Corten steel tiles, black sanitary fittings and the mirror with the power of the sun

Master bedroom

Uplit walkway towards wardrobe

Black chandelier walk-in wardrobe

Master bathroom

Backlit jack and jill's with spotlight feature

Some interesting details

Pendant chosen by owner

Lightweight resin cement powder panels

Custom aluminum AC diffuser covers

Lightweight half resin red bricks

Driveway to the house

Takeaways: Simple layouts require even more attention to detailing. The bareness or rather, simplicity in any finish details would actually stand out even greater. There are many challenges to face in the construction industry in Singapore. Especially workmanship and craftsmanship of our foreign workers. In architecture school, we have modules that required us to do the actual labours of construction. Casting concrete, digging foundations, curing concrete, sawing wood, sanding wood etc. These were how we developed our attention to tidiness and the need for accuracy in our model making, whether its 1:1000 scale or 1:10 scale. It required very long hours and finesse to achieve an acceptable standard (of workmanship). Unfortunately, our workers are not trained to have the tenacity, focus and enthusiasm to achieve our desired standards (of workmanship). So much so that, we as designers, have to put aside some of our ambitions and cater to a more measured approach by redesigning details in a more simplistic manner.

It is not to say that simple means cheapened or lessened effort (Simple can be the most difficult to achieve). What matters is the design intention and the desired built outcome has to be in tangent. As a small, maturing design firm, this is our standard that we will have to maintain.


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