6 Most Interesting Homes In Singapore And Where To Find Them
- Ryan J
- October 3, 2022
- 6 min read
A common criticism is that Singaporean homes are all “cookie-cutter”, with developers seldom daring to take risks. But some developers have managed to be bold despite the risk of five-year deadlines and ABSD rates; or built interesting homes in the years before these became factors. These include the conventionally unique spots like The Interlace, or the upcoming CanningHill Piers.
There are others though, that fly under the radar of what we would consider are really interesting homes in Singapore. Coincidentally (or not), all the homes on this list was before the introduction of the developer ABSD,
Here are some of the most interesting and unique residences we’ve found in Singapore:
Table Of Contents
1. The Thomson Plaza Townhouses
Officially known as Marigold Mews, these townhouses have been overlooked for decades. They only came into the limelight in July this year, when 19 units were put up for collective sale at $158 million (the tender closed on 18th August, without further news).
What’s special about these units? Well as the name implies, they’re actually a residential portion of Thomson Plaza: a shopping mall along Upper Thomson. Even long-time residents are often unaware that Thomson Plaza has a residential component; the older mall (built 1979) is mostly known for being the closest FairPrice Finest to residents of Adelphi Park.
The townhouse units are massive, ranging between 2,411 sq. ft. to 4,133 sq. ft. All the units are double-storey, and have their own front driveway and backyard garden. They’re connected to Thomson Plaza via an unusual series of supporting beams, and were originally built by CapitaLand (under the older name of DBS Land).
As they’re attached to Thomson Plaza, this would mean Upper Thomson MRT (Thomson-East Coast Line) is only a three-minute walk; much more accessible than many landed enclaves.
Alas, we don’t think the townhouses will be around for long. The next buyer of these 19 townhouses will probably be a major entity and one that has an eye toward redevelopment of both the mall and Marigold Mews.
With only 56 years remaining on the lease, it will be tough to find individual buyers. The last known transaction was way back in 2018 when a 2,960 sq. ft. unit was sold for around $1.77 million; it’s hard to predict the price today, given the lack of further transaction volume.
2. A single bungalow on the top of International Plaza
Located next to Tanjong Pagar MRT station, International Plaza is a well-known landmark in the CBD. There are, however, 210 residential units in International Plaza itself – the most recent being a 1,033 sq. ft. unit that transacted for a mere $1.2 million in September this year.
(If that seems unusually cheap, bear in mind this is a leasehold property completed sometime around 1976).
If you must stay in the CBD area, this represents one of the most affordable private options you can find. Units here start from the 37th floor as well, so you are guaranteed high floor views of the residential units.
Probably the most interesting unit, however, is a single bungalow on the roof of International Plaza. This 4,000+ sq. ft. unit is listed as a penthouse unit, and recent information shows a rental rate of around $15,000 per month.
Not much else is known about it – but if you’re willing to pay more than three families’ combined monthly mortgage to live atop Anson Road, well, now you know one more option.
3. The Haniffa Building on Keng Lee Road
This building is noted for its unusual roof; and before you ask what those swirl-painted globes are, your guess is as good as ours. We’re not sure if it’s a purely decorative element, or actually functional. What we can definitely see though, is a rooftop pool with a great view.
The Hanniffa Building goes back to a now-faded tradition: right up till the early 1900s, it was common for some patriarchs to build a gigantic compound, to house the entire extended family. (The Karikal Mahal at Marine Parade, better known today as a large childcare facility, is one example of this).
The Hanniffa Building is a 12-storey residential property, built by businessman O.K. Mohamed Haniffa; it’s dedicated to the use of his family of 15, and their five helpers.
(For readers who know the name, yes, this is the same person behind the Hanniffa textile company at Dunlop Street.)
The Haniffa Building reportedly cost $9 million when it was completed in 2009, and is said to be redeveloped from a bungalow that stood in the same location. At the time, it was reported that each of the owners’ five children inhabited two floors in the apartment block.
4. The Colonnade at Grange Road
Built to architectural acclaim in 1998, this unique landmark is the work of Paul Rudolph; the same architect behind the famed Lippo Centre in Hong Kong (you can read a bit more about him here).
The Colonnade gets its name from its most distinguishing trait: a series of columns hold up the tower almost like stilts; and if you look closely, they’re not level – the columns lift the base of the building at different heights.
The unusual façade is one of the most recognisable in the Orchard area – and the 90 units in this freehold condo are huge. While there isn’t a consistent exact size (they range from nearly 3,000 to over 7,000 sq. ft. in size), every unit is two storeys high and has a floor-to-ceiling window that spans the entire height.
The first floor holds a guest room and bathroom, and the second floor has the other two bedrooms. It’s possible to look out over the common areas, like the living room, from the second-floor balcony. This makes the interior feel more like a landed home than a regular condo unit.
There are no transactions on record as the units aren’t on sale. Instead, they are available for lease, with monthly prices ranging from $9,000 to $21,000 per month.
5. The Palisades and its funicular lift
We almost lost The Palisades to an en-bloc sale last year, so we’re glad it’s still around. Nonetheless, drop by and see it soon: this condo has only 18 units and is in a prime location within 10 minute walk of Haw Par Villa MRT station. If it weren’t for the volatile economic situation, we’re sure developers are eager to jump on this.
The Palisades has one of the most unique facades we’ve seen on a condo. While it has a strong ‘80s vibe (read: it can feel dated), it does manage to be different, with its primarily circular construction.
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The highlight of The Palisades is the funicular lift, of which there are believed to be only 10 in the world. The architect wanted The Palisades to blend in with the hill it’s on; so the lift travels more like a tram on a 22-degree incline.
(Mind you, if the lift is broken, that’s a problem since it’s the only one – so residents will have to walk up the stairs).
The funicular lift, like units at The Palisades, provides a waterfront view; the project faces the PSA terminal and Singapore Strait, just across the West Coast Highway.
6. Reignwood Hamilton Scotts and its car lift
You’ve probably seen Reignwood Hamilton Scotts before, even if you don’t know it by name. This is the condo next to the famous Indocafe (the white house) on Scotts Road; along the same stretch as the Sheraton hotel.
This condo is famed for its car-lift system: instead of a regular car park, the car-lift allows residents to bring their car to whichever floor they’re on. The vehicle will be parked just outside where the living room is located. There’s sufficient room for two cars, for each of the 56 units.
Mind you, this condo probably isn’t as enjoyable if you don’t have a nice car to show off. But with transaction prices reaching $6.5 million for a 2,755 sq. ft. unit, anyone living here can probably afford the car to go with it.
If you know of any unique or interesting houses in Singapore, let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, you can follow us on Stacked, for news and updates on the Singapore private property market.