The building project began as a transformation of an existing shophouse into a showroom and office for lighting products. Converting this building type to provide new retail functions was a significant challenge that required extensive modifications to the interior planning. The resulting approach was to insert new spaces that could connect all the existing floors to provide a continuous circulation and movement. These new elements use steel as their primary structure and were designed to be supported and cantilevered from existing concrete structures, thereby creating a new space that combined old and new elements of the renovated shophouse interior.
The development of the exterior facade followed the interior modifications. The idea of creating an “accidental facade” was inspired by the resourcefulness of shophouse owners and the ways they adapted their buildings in a hot tropical climate. Owners would use low-cost and lightweight metal materials that are cut into panels to create ad-hoc facades. Despite these simple modifications, these shophouse facades can sometimes provide intriguing and surprising results.
While most building facades aim to project the function of their interior spaces towards the exterior surfaces, in this case the opposite approach was needed. However, we wondered whether it was possible to design a facade that can still possess some permeable qualities while mostly functioning as a solid layer to block direct transmission of heat and outside light. After experimenting with different materials and techniques, the resulting facade was developed that attempted to create an in-between condition were daylight would be filtered from the outside, reflected off the facade and “spill” into the interior spaces.