Singapore’s Black and White Houses 1898-1941
When it comes to touring in Singapore, the number one item on my list is to visit the architectural treasures known as Black and Whites. They’re an important legacy of the island’s colonial past, and not found anywhere else in the region.
The massive size of the Black and Whites was due to the need for airiness and spaciousness in this tropical climate. Large windows and doorways allow the breezes to flow throughout the house.
Originally built for British colonial officers and their families, they are now owned by the Heritage Foundation and available for lease only. But when you visit one, it’s easy to be transported back in time to the bygone era recalling charmed lives of ease and elegance.
This example of a typical Black and White covered porch is one of my favorites. I love the contrast of black trim against white ceiling. Notice the green roller shades banded in black and white fabric which double as wind and rain shields.
The arched portico, tiled entry, and grand stairway leading into the living quarters are beautiful examples of a Black and White interior. Notice, again, the contrast of black trim and ceiling details against the white ceiling.
The oversized windows along the back wall of this stairway add beautiful architectural detail as well as allowing natural light to pass between floors.
Large open windows are perfect for letting the tropical breezes flow through the house. I love the Dutch doors across the bottom of each window. What a perfect way to access the side porch!
To see another modern day interior of a Singapore black and white house, take a look at the March 2010 issue of Architectural Digest. It was designed by American designer, Michael Fiebrich, now living in Singapore.
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