Keen interest to restore Cashin House

Keen interest to restore Cashin House
Cashin House in Lim Chu Kang is due to be restored and linked with Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve about 2km away. The project is to start by the first quarter of 2016 and be done by the second quarter of 2017.

SINGAPORE - Companies are sparring to come up with the winning plan to restore a colonial-era bungalow on Singapore’s north-western coast and link it by trails to the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

At least five teams of consultants had said they were interested in developing the old Cashin House and its surroundings into a western extension of the reserve on Singapore’s north-west coast.

“Interest in the Cashin House restoration project has been encouraging,” National Parks Board (NParks) conservation director Wong Tuan Wah told The Straits Times.

Last month, NParks put out a request on government tender website GeBIZ for companies to express their interest in doing so, and its request closed last Friday.

Five teams of consultants with skills in architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and surveying will be shortlisted out of those who expressed interest, and invited to tender for the project.

NParks wants a team to restore Cashin House, design its interior and exterior for new use, test if it is structurally sound, and add trails and landscaping to connect it to Sungei Buloh about 2km away.

All this must be done in an environmentally sound way, adhering to the Green Mark for Parks gold standard, which means designers have to make sure that the fittings of the house use electricity and water efficiently, among other things.

The project is to start by the first quarter of 2016 and be done by the second quarter of 2017.

The colonial-era bungalow, once the property of the land-owning Cashin family originally from Ireland, stands vacant off a pier in Lim Chu Kang and was part of a rubber plantation estate with a larger main house. The pier was used to transport rubber before Lim Chu Kang Road was built.

Its last owner, the late Mr Howard Edmund Cashin, had practised law here for more than 50 years, and died in 2009. In an oral history account, he said the house had been used by the Japanese during World War II, and may have been their first landing point here. Plans to restore the house were in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Draft Master Plan released last year.

The Cashin family’s other colonial-era property, Matilda House in Punggol, is also being restored and conserved as the centrepiece of a new condominium.

Heritage enthusiast and naval architect Jerome Lim, 49, said Cashin House’s architectural elements, such as its entrance grilles, should be kept.

“(The house) is a reminder of our agricultural past, and points back to a way of life that we’ve forgotten about,” he said.

caiwj@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 19 in The Straits Times.

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