Arthur Aw, executive director of investment firm Kimen Group, was just enrolling for National Service in 1985, when George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” were chart-topping hits. Before joining the service, Aw finished one of the three four-story buildings at Jervois Mansions that year. Jervois Mansions was built by his father, the late Aw Kim Chen, founder of the Kimen Group. Aw adds, “This development has emotional significance for our family.”
Jervois Mansions, located at 18 Jervois Road, across the street from the Malaysian High Commission, contains 32 flats that have been leased for 36 years. Jervois Mansions is built on a 93,183-square-foot freehold lot. It’s also a renovation of three old Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) bought by Aw’s father in 1980.
We’ve been managing our own homes for more than 30 years, so we know how to deal with maintenance problems. As a result, we want to make certain that the materials we choose for the property are long-lasting.
After a 12-year stay with Ascendas-Singbridge, where he was last executive vice president (EVP) of special projects and EVP-founder of Bridge+, Aw returned to the fold in October 2017. He had previously worked at JTC Corp for a decade, most recently as director of land planning. Aw was the deputy director of one-north development group at JTC. He was awarded a scholarship to study architecture at the renowned Architectural Association in London for his PhD. His thesis was on large-scale, integrated workplace improvements, and it was inspired by his work at one-north, he adds.
Aw updated Jervois Mansions with a black and white motif shortly after joining Kimen Group, which he claims was “welcomed by our expatriate residents.” Nonetheless, when the project reached 40, Aw thought it was beginning to show its age. He bemoans the fact that, despite their size of 2,400 square feet, these three-bedroom flats only have two bathrooms. The decision to rebuild Jervois Mansions was made as a result of this.
The property has a plot ratio of 1.4 due to its closeness to the Bishopsgate-Chatsworth GCB region, therefore the proposed residential construction must be low-rise, with up to five stories. It will be known as Jervois Mansion and will consist of 130 apartments divided into six blocks connected by overhead bridges at the rooftop decks.
Christopher Lee, co-founder of Serie Architects, a worldwide firm specializing in architecture, urban design, and research, was hand-picked by Aw to head the Jervois Mansion design team. The interior designer for the project is Studio iF, headed by Gwen Tan, lead architect and partner of Formwerkz Architects, while the landscape architect is Chang Huai-yan, creator of Salad Dressing.
The “sustenance curators” of Jervois Mansion include Mace Studio managing director and landscape architect Mason Tan, as well as director and biodiversity planner Janet Wong. Given the kind of soil at the location, the pair, bohemian-style urban farmers, advises on the types of plants that would flourish at the community garden.
Following the conclusion of the project, the duo will be kept for an extra two years to educate the gardeners and maintenance workers at Jervois Mansion in organic gardening. They will also provide seminars for locals. “Those who are interested are invited to take care of the communal garden and produce their own vegetables,” Aw says. “As a general rule, the crop must be shared with the community.”
The Jervois Mansion sales gallery serves as a testbed for urban farming, biodiversity, and other sustainability elements, as well as a display for the different unit types. “We want to offer them a flavor of what living at Jervois Mansion is like,” Aw adds.