Under One Roof
‘Keeping the family roots alive through memories from the past.’
(Home Concept Megazine, Jan/Feb 2013)
The ‘Sim-sons’ House in Kuching, originally built 80 years ago, has been home to three generations of the Sim family. This inherited home, although demolished and rebuilt to accommodate more family members and more modern amenities, once included an extension, which served as an automobile workshop owned by the family.
Today, this home has been transformed to a weekend house for the current generations of three sons and their families. Although the old wood and brick home had been ravaged by time and could no longer contain the large family, design element of the past were preserved and incorporated to maintain the originality of the home and as a mark of respect for the family’s past. To accommodate the large family, the brief was to create seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and two living rooms; the resulting home was planned out in a grid-like form to achieve a spacious feel within the total area of 3,200 sq. feet.
The rebuilding of the house was much like a process of reassembling remnants of the past for the owners, and effort were made to repurpose the existing timber from the previous house, to be reused as part of the new house. Apart from that, the architecture of the home not only traces the history of the family, but also reflects the relationship of the home with its surroundings, which includes houses built in different eras. Using some of the existing architectural elements of its neighbours such as roof profiles, gutters, downpipes, textures and colours, the Sim-sons House was reinterpreted with the modern approach that still celebrates the richness of the past and the local architectural style.
Another design element that was extracted and incorporated from the previous house included the adjustable horizontal aluminium screen panels at the staircase, a sight reminiscent of the horizontal timber that used to envelope the walls of the old house. At the same time the central exposed concrete gutter has been intentionally left to protrude at both ends, echoing the typical design in the surrounding residential area, and creating a more harmonious effect with its environment.
The home’s original circulation space was also maintained so as not to create a drastic change in the family’s lifestyle, and to imply harmonious living for the big family under one main roof, double the pitch roofs were used.
Internally, the ground floor is in tasteful contradiction with its exterior with its welcoming, open concept. In the daytime, the multifaceted walls help to cast an interesting play of light and shadows in the family’s gathering area. On the upper floor, the floor plan was maximised to fit in the most number of rooms while still ensuring there was sufficient lighting and natural airflow.
The result is a modest yet modern home that exudes a solid structure which is also firmly rooted in the past, with its foundation standing tall and proud. With its rich history and story, this contemporary family home has been uniquely preserve for the future generations of the Sim family.