By Melissa M. Bernardoni
Photos by Ng Han Guan
The House of Tan Yeok Nee, one of the oldest structures in Singapore, is undergoing extensive renovations before becoming the home of the Executive M.B.A. Program Asia. The last of four traditional Chinese courtyard mansions built in the early days of Singapore, the House of Tan Yeok Nee is a national historic landmark. Take a look as artisans restore the historic house to its former grandeur.
One of the oldest structures in Singapore, the House of Tan Yeok Nee was built by a prominent Chinese businessman who amassed a fortune as a trader. The house typifies southern Chinese ornamentation, building materials, and inward-looking layout. The architecture is enhanced by intricate carvings on roof supports and wall panels under eaves that depict scenes from Chinese culture and history.

Exterior renovations have focused on returning the house to its former grandeur. Skilled workers from China were hired for their extensive knowledge of gilding, ceramic patterning, and timber carving. While most of the materials were available in Singapore, some items— including colored ceramic bowls, roof tiles, and paints— were imported from China. Interior renovations have focused on accommodating state-of-the-art classrooms, group study space, and technological needs. Restoration is scheduled for completion in the fall.
A craftsman marks up wood carvings for restoration. Many of the artisans restoring the House of Tan Yeok Nee were brought in from China for their specialized knowledge of timber carving, ceramic patterning, and gilding.
More images from Tan Yeok Nee
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