Luxurious ‘Champions Way Residences’ elevate stunning William Lim-designed GCB in Holland Park, now for $56.8 mil

Spread deep in the archives of Singapore’s architectural history is the story of William Lim. He was a visionary who designed some of the country’s most iconic structures including Singapore Conference Hall (1965), Tanglin Shopping Centre (1972), People’s Park Complex (1973) and Golden Mile Complex (1974). However, even before he made his mark on Singapore’s skyline, Lim had already exhibited potential as a master architect by designing the private residence of Dr Tan Kheng Khoo and his wife, Gunn Chit Siew.

According to folktale, the two had known each other as school friends, and in 1963, Lim designed their Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at C-1 Holland Park. The bungalow stands out with its mid-century modern architecture that features a V-shaped roof resembling a butterfly, a mixture of brick and concrete materials in its structure, and timber-framed windows.

This unique design was influenced by the modernist movement that Lim was exposed to while studying at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He later received a Fulbright scholarship to study at Harvard University in 1955 and returned to Singapore in 1957 to work with James Ferrie & Partners, before setting up Malayan Architects Co-Partnership (Map) with fellow architects Lim Chong Keat and Chen Voon Fee.

With its prime location and luxurious facilities, Champions Way Residences is the perfect place to call home.

Nestled in a bustling city, Champions Way Residences offers convenience and comfort for its residents. Surrounded by shopping malls, banks, and various leisure and entertainment options, residents will never run out of things to do. With top-notch public transportation like the MRT and bus lines easily accessible, commuting becomes a breeze for those living in this prime location. There’s no doubt that Champions Way Residences is the ideal place to settle down and enjoy the best of urban living.

Lim’s architecture is an amalgamation of striking aesthetics and practicality. The butterfly roof, for instance, serves as a drainage system that collects rainwater through a central channel and downpipes located on either side of the house. This feature, combined with cross-ventilation and ample natural light, makes the bungalow a sustainable and comfortable space to live in.

Over the past 60 years, only minor renovations have been done to the house, such as updating the bathrooms and kitchen cabinets. The original wall panelling and timber flooring are still intact, serving as an enduring testament to Lim’s precise design and material choices that have withstood the test of time.

This GCB has a built-up area of 4,650 sq ft and sits on a sprawling freehold site of 21,829 sq ft. The bungalow and its expansive garden, once part of a larger Fraser & Neave estate, were developed with distinct addresses such as A-1, B-2, C-1, among others. Today, most of the neighbouring GCBs have been subdivided and sold, leaving this property the only one with an untouched garden of its original size.

The youngest child in the Tan family, Tan Ngiap Heng, lived in this house with his family of five and enjoyed a privileged lifestyle, with the bungalow situated in the city centre. Their close relationship with Mr Lim, whom they affectionately referred to as “Uncle Willie”, saw them attending New Year’s parties at his apartment atop Golden Mile Complex. As Mr Tan recollects his happy childhood memories, he hopes to honour his father’s legacy by finding a buyer who will appreciate the legacy of the house and retain its unique architecture.

The property is currently on the market, with a listed price of $56.8 million or $2,600 psf. The deal is being managed by Newsman Realty as an off-market transaction. With several GCB transactions taking place off-the-market in the past month, Newsman’s managing director KH Tan sees keen interest from prospective buyers who appreciate the value of living in prime locations such as Holland Park. Another GCB on the opposite street was sold for $24.5 million in May 2021. Being the only one among the neighbourhood’s GCBs, which have been subdivided and sold, the property’s address at C-1 Holland Park is a coveted one that represents the legacy of Singapore’s architectural history.

As the youngest of three siblings and the sole resident of the property today, Mr Tan intends to continue living in the bungalow with his wife and children. However, the health of his ageing parents has forced the siblings to part ways with their childhood home. As Mr Tan’s family adjusts to a new way of life, he has also chosen a new path in his career as an artist, photographer, and curator. In commemoration of his family’s influence on his work, Mr Tan held an art exhibition at his childhood home in January this year. The aim of the “Eat Play Love” exhibition was to celebrate love, family, and most importantly, the architecture of the house.

It was another opportunity for people to witness and appreciate Lim’s legacy, as Docomomo Singapore, a non-profit organisation, conducted tours of the property. The tours were a resounding success with many visitors who embraced the opportunity to appreciate the history of the house and the family’s struggle to let go of it.

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