In the 1970s, there were two major types of residential typology in Singapore: landed properties and Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats. They occupied different ends of the market spectrum, with few other options between them. The government ceased developing landed property that same decade in favour of pushing for more vertical, multi-residential typologies.
The main challenge was enticing landed property owners to switch to high-rise living which, at the time, meant units in small, soulless blocks void of community space. Thankfully, the end of the decade saw a crop of towering condominiums – a fresh concept then – that attempted to bridge the gap with communal facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, barbecue pits, gardens and, perhaps most importantly, spacious units comparable to terrace homes that could comfortably house families.
That was what drew homeowner Raymond Quah to this 2,142 sq ft condominium unit in the Upper Bukit Timah area. Built in 1978 by the architect of Pearl Bank Apartments, the split-level unit offered ample space for Raymond, wife Karina, their son, aged 12, daughter, aged 9, and a helper.
“When we bought the unit, it was in very basic condition. The last renovation was probably 30 years prior, so it needed a lot of work,” he tells us. “But the place had good bones. All the rooms were of a good size and the entire layout was very linear; no awkward or unusable spaces.”