I tend to like a do-over, architecturally speaking, while retaining some of the interesting bits of the original. This house in Singapore does just that.
The architects, RichardHO Architects, decided that building itself was good, structurally speaking, and aesthetically speaking, about the exterior, but the interior didn't work for the way folks like today.
The kitchen and bathrooms were at the back of the house, away from activities of the living and dining rooms and inappropriate for entertaining, so the architects reconfigured the layout to create a seamless living-dining-kitchen volume ... with a Koi pond.
Because, as a homeowner, I'd like to say, 'Oh, the bathroom is just past the Koi pond, beneath the hovering stairs opposite the kitchen.'
The architects kept some of the original elements of the house, like the stairwell topped by a generous sky-light, but they made the stairwell rise around and above the Koi pond. And, of course, once the stair well was once exposed to the elements, it was equipped with a retractable glass roof and blinds that reflect 75% of the heat back into the atmosphere, keeping the internal temperature comfortable.
And the blinds also cast shadows down the stairwell into the main living space, depending on the time of day and the extent to which they are retracted. On moonlit nights, the glass roof can be fully retracted to take in the view.
The second floor is split between the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom, and the nursery and another bedroom. The master bedroom is reminiscent of a luxury hotel suite: a divider at the entrance doubles up as the bed’s headboard, while a bank of wardrobe in a high-gloss white finish line walls on either side. The piece de resistance is the master bathroom, with its view of lush greenery.
The guest room on the attic level functions as the owners study when there are no guests, but it's the surprise at the top that most visitors are after: an outdoor terrace with an infinity edge pool and a panorama of green, the same view shared by the master bathroom.
Like I said, I love the exterior, which retains the history of the building, but when you walk inside, you are suddenly in a whole new world.