55 Blair Road / Ong & Ong


Architects: Ong & Ong Pte Ltd
Location: 55 Blair Road,
Design Team: Diego Molina and Maria Arango. Camilo Pelaez.
Project Team: Diego Molina and Maria Arango. Camilo Pelaez. Ryan Manuel, Linda Qing
Interior design: YPS
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Derek Swalwell

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55 Blair Road produces a spatial experience that excites the senses by promoting light open plan living which is unusual to this type of terrace house. This residence brings a balance between nature and contemporary living in a renovation of an Art Deco style terrace.


To create a light open plan living space, whilst promoting Inside/outside space. The contrasting relationship between the metallic elements and subtle tones within the house create an exciting spatial relationship throughout.

55 Blair road project is a renovation and restoration to a traditional art deco style shop house. Originally the house was renovated 10 years ago. The new owner however believed it was too dark and desired more light in the living spaces.


Adhering to the conservation constraints of maintaining the existing envelope, a solution was reached. The residence was design around a young professional who had a clear vision of how the house should appear. The final scheme met that vision.

The entire second floor in the main section of the house had been allocated for a master bedroom/study space with an en suite bathroom.

The restored traditional façade of the property envelops the new living space accommodating all the desired spaces of the client.

Bringing light into this long plot was an important consideration. A large air well divides the two sections of the house allowing for maximum light to penetrate the living spaces. Aluminum wall cladding wraps around the void. The aluminum bands reflect light into the living spaces.

The void acts not only as a large light well but also encourages natural ventilation within the house.

The intricate linear bands are a modern contrast that reflects the traditional ornate façade. This metallic architectural language used throughout the scheme emphasizes a unity within the spaces. The subtle tones and metallic elements complement each other to create a common theme throughout the house.


Continuity of space was a key concept to promote the relationship of outside/inside space. The First floor employs flexible glazed walls that lead directly to the pool. The main section of the house is separated by the out door pool and frangipani garden. When both sides of the glazed partitions are open the first floor becomes one large space. The scheme proves to be an approach that promotes diversity of space. The ground floor is not only a lounge and dinning area it is an ideal place to relax and sit poolside. The intention to create a diverse space on the first floor adds huge value and appeal to a property this size.

The TV and music appliances are hidden in recesses in the wall that are concealed when not in use buy larges pieces of art, this reiterates the concept of continuity of spaces. The lighting can be controlled by an integrated computer that can be used to set lighting moods within the house.

The rear section (service area) of the house accommodates the kitchen space , a powder room, the maids’ room and a roof terrace. A steel spiral staircase links these spaces. The internal courtyard divides the two sections of the house however the same choice of materials is carried though the whole scheme to ensure unity.


The kitchen has been finished in a seamless aluminum cladding. This creates a refined kitchen space.

A balance between the aluminum and the frangipani garden in the internal courtyard has developed a stimulating spatial experience. The contrasting relationship between the organic element and the long linear metal elements provide a suitable connecting space.

Several stepping-stones link the lounge and kitchen space across the pool divide.

The Century Frangipani is a native tree that has been associated with Buddhist and Hindu cultures. The old twisted trunk adds to the character of the house. It is contained within modern elements. This reflects the concept of the house in the way the old facade contains the modern.

exploted axo
exploted axo

The house is laid out on an axis that almost acts as a line of symmetry. The layout of spaces certainly is arranged to this line.

The master bedroom features an en suite bathroom space that is a contrasting architectural language to that of the façade. It is a glazed box that cantilevers over the pool area. This modern intervention emphasizes the playful nature of the scheme. Internally there is a total contrast to the ornate façade. The unsubtle architectural styles contrast each other in a way that contributes to the overall scheme.

The traditional flooring was used within the modern addition. The walnut planks runs through the second and third floors in response to the heritage of the property.

The sculpted stone bathtub sits at the edge of the cantilevered box overlooking the pool and garden below. The other bathroom fixtures are constructed in a similar stone. However the bathtub is the key architectural feature that completes the bathroom.


Another appealing feature of the master bedroom is that there is a large void that allows a view down to the first floor. The plan of the Master bedroom space is true to the axial layout of the house. Integrated symmetrical bookshelves line the walls that lead to the study area.

To overcome the constraint of maintaining the height of the second floor a new mezzanine space was created to accommodate an additional guest bedroom in the attic space. A jack roof was necessary to allow sufficient light into the attic. Light is able to penetrate through the house

The main spiral staircase depicts a rhythmic ribbon that ascends to attic space. This key architectural feature acts as a central pin through the main section of the residence. Naturally lit by a roof cylindrical skylight that creates a vertical strik that can reach the bottom part of the stairs. This organic approach reflects the natural aspects of the house with a modern interpretation. On the second and third floors the stairwell is encased in a stainless steel mesh. This detaches the circulation space and spatially breaks up the bedroom areas

The overall scheme successfully establishes a relationship between inside and outside space. The approach of situating a swimming pool in the centre of the house produces a space that is diverse and suitable to a range of activities. The benefits of the flexible space leading to the air well gives the occupant the option of creating a different type of space within the house. The aluminum clad air well draws light into the residence ensuring a well-let open plan living space meeting the client’s desires.

Cite: "55 Blair Road / Ong & Ong" 23 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=32573>
  • INawe

    I’m not so into spiral staircases but a beautiful project nonetheless.

    • j

      This spiral staircase is perfect for this house. with the limited space and small floor plan, a spiral staircase would have been the best solution

    • mauricio

      Que luz y que espacios, dan tranquilidad. mauricio vila mejia

    • Roomchitecture

      he must be a Max user, remind me the apple store.

  • frank Wilson

    Very interesting texture. Iniatially I thought It was a great rendering. However, it is a very romantic, contemporary classic of what an Interior is suppose to look like. It is a very interesting way to join two spaces that normally we would see an empty corridor.

    Great work!!!

  • d

    its too neat for me, looks like if u want to do something with the room u gotta be really careful, or u’ll be ruin it. Just too “stiff”..

  • hannah j

    I LOVE it!!! simple, neat, and it’s my style ;D

  • nischal

    A very nice use of narrow strip of space, particularly in section by being simple and visually interactive. I the like the use of circular stairs being an element to connect vertically and at the same time subdivide spaces in all levels.

  • stan

    look at the leaves on the glass canopy. a headache.

  • JustinM

    Wow! Every square inch of this place is perfect. This is definitely the house of my dreams.

  • deaw

    View from the pool towards the staircase is nice. Bathroom is nice,too.
    Tons of white books on the shelf look strange for me.

    • http://mclily.spaces.live.com gyl

      yah..looks like some stagy corner in martin margiela’s show room or exhibition…

  • sabrina

    fantastic! A piece of art!

  • oo

    to sterile to enter..
    is it build as a show room for corolfull magazines

  • apple

    i think it’s amazing..

  • Lone

    Just having woken up I read the architects as that abnoxious web host 1&1. Ugh.

    OT, the pool atrium is an amazing space. The vertical clading and the tree just send it up and up. And its easy enough to mock the sterile interior as unimaginative or lazy but those books are just awful. If you dont read thats fine but a purposely fake library makes you look like an idiot.

    • alan

      Knowing that the owner has read all the “sterile” books at least twice, there is little reason for her to show off her literary interests, unlike many who simply buy and display the books to appear intelligent, without having read them!

      • Lone

        Fair enough though covering them up for the sake of matching the interior is unnecessary. Books create warmth and the multitude of colors add to the environment.

  • Jeison

    It´s fantastic. Someone said it´s a piece of art. Agree.

  • RATM

    much much better than singaporeans’ design!

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  • Peter

    Spiral stair done right….beautiful!

  • http://www.blog.tropicalismo360.com tropicalismo360


  • http://www.entornoaid.com Manuel

    Colombian design, perfect!!

    • Kiki Ramirez

      De todo mi gusto!!! Grande Cami!!!

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  • http://www.blog.tropicalismo360.com tropicalismo360

    I don’t mean to be cheeky but digging a little deeper into this it looks like Diego Andres Molina
    and Maria Arango are a potential firm in the making – and it would be a good one

  • http://www.structurehub.com/blog StructureHub Blog

    Beautifully done; the old and strikingly new aspects of the home mesh quite nicely, and the open-sky courtyard’s ethereality is emphasized by the vertical slats that point upward and channel light downward and the water that reflects it up to the sculptural form of the tree, which softens the effect of the built components of the home.

  • http://www.ft3arc.com fino

    Gorgeous, but perhaps to much of a piece of art…..to feel like home. It’s trying so hard to be a home, but it seems that if a sock was left on the floor, it would be like to desecrate a canvas. Oh boy, how ironic. To come home, and not feel at home……to be ruled by beautiful strict order and cleanliness.

  • mark

    twas gumsmacked,truly

  • David

    killer house, the best urban house on AD by far. Great design and even better detailing. Fire the stylist, a bit too OTT, white books, are they real?

  • simon

    syyyyyyyyyyyyyyymple awsome, exelent in all aspects

  • uncontrol


  • guy

    absolutely beautiful. detailing is amazing. the contrasts work wonderfully from the shop front facade to the minimal white interior to the industrialized zen courtyard. I can dig it.

  • Ashwin kumar

    Simply..superb project….juz anyone would fell in love with this beautiful master piece…n may i know the material used as vertical blinds in the courtyard….

  • novan

    cool…and make the heritage building came alive. i like it!
    i hope bandung do something like this, so many heritage building in bandung is forgetable.

  • wartian

    ruin the past memories of traditional shop house/ town house live. the house is suitable for H2O, clinique, biotherm or other cosmetic products’ showroom!

    probably the “sterile” books shelf is another designer ego. do you guys watch ‘I Love You, Man’? In the movie:

    Paul Rudd (Peter Klaven):’do you play piano? there is a
    piano there..’
    Jason Segel (Sydney Fife):’no!’
    Paul Rudd:’no?’
    Jason Segel:’NO.!!! The designer put it there..!’