The residence of the Indian Ambassador to Singapore is a rather splendid one. Located on Peirce Road in Singapore it is the grandest of the heritage properties on the island. Built in 1911 the bungalow, is a part of the many black and white style bungalows built by the British dotting the island. Tucked away in what one can all the green scape of the island, the house stands on a mounded hillock. The Indian government is said to have purchased the bungalow in about 1948 for a paltry sum. In 2000s the highly dilapidated bungalow was decided to be renovated and additions to the house were agreed upon.
Ideated by Singapore based architect Steven Siong the bungalow was re-created to match with precision its predecessor. Freshly painted and gleaming with pride its soul seems to have risen like a phoenix. The Ambassador’s wife was gracious enough to let me get a peek into what can be easily touted as the grandest heritage residence in Singapore. The older part of the house remains intact. With a winding driveway, a porch stepping down into a large garden the entrance is grand and warm at the same time. Stepping into a main lobby we are greeted by not only the pictures of India’s current President and Prime Minister but also a promise of what lays beyond. The louvered glass and wooden frames show a glint of the courtyard beyond. The dining room flanks the lobby on one side while a grand staircase embraces the lobby on the other. The dining room is large and elaborate and surprises. With walls in black and the ceiling and floor in white and the architraves of the 1911 the decor is quirkyly goth.
The courtyard behind the existing house is the first of the many new structural additions to the house. Envisaged to use the Hindu Mandala concept of building, the courtyard is made central in the house plan with the addition of a drawing room at the far end. The drawing room again, is elaborate and has a Japanese ring to it. The central roof of the room is lifted higher to let in ample sunlight and completely glorifies the space.
Out of the drawing annexe is a meandering path that leads to a lawn space with a swimming pool that is woven into it. Far across is seen smaller units that are residences of the other officers of the High Commission. The house breathes and while at it encourages you to breathe as well. India seems far away with only art works showing a reminiscence. Bronzes of the various Indian dances are freckled over the semi-open spaces in the outdoors.
The outside comes in and the inside goes out extremely effortlessly and fluently in a house that is splendid by light, night and sight.