Baba House Gallery
It is almost dictum that a contemporary art gallery space has to be as neutral
as possible to view and contemplate artworks. How do you design a contemporary
gallery space within a richly ornate historical building?
Size: 100 square metres  /   Year: Completion 2008
Type: Commerical   /  Services: Interior
Team: Peter Sim, Torrance Goh, Hong Weiming   /  Photographer: Jeremy San Tzer Ning
 
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Peranakan architecture in all its ornate richness, consists of an eclectic mix of influences from the Southern Chinese, Malay, colonial Dutch and the British cultures.

To site a contemporary art gallery within the faithfully restored Baba House, we run into some dilemma. It is almost dictum that a contemporary art gallery space has to be as neutral as possible to view and contemplate artworks. How do you design a contemporary gallery space within a richly ornate historical building?
This new gallery, envisaged as a pure white room, is inserted into the restored fabric of the house. A ‘respectful distance’ is created between the ornate qualities of the conserved house and the neutrality of a contemporary art space. The new walls and floor planes are treated like a blank canvas - they are finished in white enamel, gently curved at the edges and ‘float’ above the existing structure, leaving a gap of light that defines and differentiates between the traditional and the contemporary.

(The exhibition on show features Michael Lee Hong Hwee's - A Psychotaxonomy of Home.)