Adjacent to HortPark is a charming little colonial building that had long caught my eye. Recently I visited the area again for a long walk and was intrigued to see it has now been restored, complete with gorgeous landscaping. So naturally I had to have a closer look.
I adore it, it’s such a sweet-looking house. Here is some fascinating information from the ‘Media Factsheet‘ provided by NParks:
Alexandra Road No. 394 is a colonial house that was built in the early 20th century to serve the staff of the Former States Railway at the height of rail transportation for trade and commerce and emergence of rail corridors in the Malay Peninsula, where Singapore served as a primary trading port. Spanning 0.7 hectares in size, the bungalow consists of a two-storey main building (257.5 m2) and an outhouse (98.03 m2). Owing to its large size, the building was believed to have housed a high-ranking official, possibly the railway superintendent, and his family.
The house was designed in the Arts & Craft style, with its steeply-pitched tile roof and gable wall. Its unique asymmetrical arrangement of architectural features with brick skirting around the base exudes a 1930s country cottage charm. An example of Singapore’s domestic architecture and of buildings and structures tied to Singapore’s rail history, Alexandra Road No. 394 was gazetted as a conserved building by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on 6 June 2014. The building was restored in 2017.
So it’s now called HortHouse. I would have loved to have a look inside, regardless of whether the original layout of the rooms are still there. No chance to find out if I could, as it was closed that late Saturday afternoon I was there. But that’s alright, I’m just thankful that the building was turned into a facility accessible to the public, instead of, say, a private residence. That would had been made gated and I wouldn’t get to admire it so up close.
A quick check online shows that CUGE, the Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology, is a division of the National Parks Board (NParks) that provides training programmes and research in the landscaping industry. They also have training venues at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
View from the back. Really too bad about the selection of this particular design of lamppost scattered around the house, to me it’s just way too minimalist and contemporary.
The landscaping though is just gorgeous, and really complements the dreamy cottage feel of the property. I also love the emerald green of the doors and windows.
For some interesting photos of what it looked like before its restoration just two years ago, click here for a few photos from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
- URA – Alexandra Road No.394 – History
- The Smart Local – 10 Queenstown highlights from Singapore’s WW2 era that still exist today.