Each original geometric tiles and contemporary machine-milled latticework decorate the reception of this boutique hotel in Penang, Malaysia, which occupies a row of standard shophouses .
Singapore-primarily based architecture firm Ministry of Style was tasked with producing the hotel in Penang’s George Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a mix of colonial-design architecture.
Constructed in 1919, the structure previously contained five shophouses but has now been converted into a series of contemporary guest suites.
Shophouses are a constructing typology that is frequent in cities across south-east Asia, the place owners historically lived over their outlets. They usually comprise a shopfront that opens immediately onto the street and apartments organized more than a single or two storeys over.
Loke Thye Kee Residences retains this conventional format, with the street-level facade divided into units and fronted by a colonnaded walkway. Indications over the doorways of the ground floor suites give the impression that they are even now actively trading.
According to Ministry of Design director Colin Seah, the configuration of classic shophouses lends itself to hotel conversions as the units are presently appropriately sized for residential occupancy.
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“The upper ranges of shophouses had been traditionally used as residential dwelling spaces, so the width and dimensions of every single shophouse bay is nicely suited for the hotel or serviced apartment typology,” Seah told Dezeen.
The restoration of the block of shophouses involved completely replacing the roof and floors, even though the main construction remained in great issue.
The articulation of the windows and doors on the street frontage and its time period ornamentation had been retained to protect a visual connection with the building’s heritage.
At the rear of the shophouses, a modest alleyway that passes beneath a row of arches now offers accessibility to personal gardens outdoors guest rooms on the ground floor, and staircases major to a balcony and the initial-floor rooms.
In the reception spot, an authentic geometric tiled floor is complemented by the machine-milled pattern applied to latticework that covers the ceiling and a single wall. Elsewhere, authentic tiles were preserved wherever possible, or replaced with similar patterns.
“The latticework was inspired by the intricate tile patterns that are common of the shophouse typology,” mentioned Seah. “The notion was to proceed the tiling pattern 3-dimensionally, but in a far more abstracted and subtle way.”
Inside the rooms, existing brick walls have been left exposed to supply a textural contrast with the modern day furniture, which includes glass wardrobes, chrome mirrors and cantilevered desks.
“The piece de resistance for the interiors was the original brickwork get together walls,” stated Seah. “They supplied wonderful texture and a foil towards which we positioned our modern and sleeker interventions.”
Ministry of Design and style also just lately extra a contemporary extension to a 100-12 months-old building close by, echoing the exact same profile and supplies from in the unique structure in the new addition. The firm described this as a “cookie cutter” approach.
The renovation and conversion of the shophouses was tackled with a equivalent attitude – with a focus on the balance amongst retaining integral authentic characteristics and introducing information that make the spaces appropriate for modern living.
Seah said he was influenced by the decor of Penang in the early 20th century, and notably by the one hundred-12 months-outdated Loke Thye Kee restaurant subsequent door, which is being redeveloped by the same proprietor.
“We believe that heritage isn’t just a moment in time rooted in the previous, but that it is a continuum of time,” he claimed. “Armed with this philosophy, we sought opportunities to create this sense of a continuum and dialogue among the previous, existing and potential.”
“We feel that this contrast makes it possible for the previous to not feel distant or historic, but living and linked to the present,” he added.
Other shophouse conversions completed in current years contain a pair of reside-perform units in Bangkok and a residence and a swimming pool in Singapore.