ADDITIONS AND ALTERATIONS
Historic buildings provide a valuable link to Singapore’s heritage and conserving them is an important part of Singapore urban planning. So far, over 7,000 buildings have been gazetted for conservation. They are located mainly in the city centre and around its fringes, and comprise largely shophouses and bungalows.
The majority of conservation areas in Singapore fall into four distinct categories, and the conservation guidelines vary for each of these categories.
The four main groups of conservation areas are:
* The Historic Districts of Boat Quay, Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India;
* The Residential Historic Districts of Blair Plain, Cairnhill and Emerald Hill;
* The Secondary Settlements of Balestier, Beach Road, Geylang, Jalan Besar, Jalan Jurong Kechil, Joo Chiat, Mount Sophia, River Valley, Tanjong Katong,Upper Circular Road and Tiong Bahru; and
* The Bungalow Areas of the Good Class Bungalow Areas and Fringe (Chatsworth Park Conservation Area, Holland Park/Ridout Road
Conservation Area and Nassim Road/Whitehouse Park Conservation Area) and the Mountbatten Road Conservation Area.
The Historic Districts of Boat Quay, Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India are characterized by predominantly two- and three-storey shophouses, ranging from the Early Shophouse Style to the Art Deco Shophouse Style.
The Boat Quay Historic District, bounded by South Bridge Road, Circular Road, Lorong Telok and North Canal Road, was traditionally the centre of trading activities along the Singapore River. Located next to the Downtown Core, its shophouses and warehouses, which lined the river, give it a unique charm and character. Today, it is an area with predominantly commercial premises of retail and eating establishments.
The Chinatown Historic District, located south of Singapore River, is the original settlement of the Chinese community in Singapore. It is a largely intact area of shophouses with original texture and fabric, depicting the simple lifestyles of the early immigrant community. The District comprises 4 subdistricts, each with a distinctive character. They are:
* Kreta Ayer, bounded by New Bridge Road, Park Road, Upper Cross Street, South Bridge Road, Sago Street, Trengganu Street and Smith Street, is known for its bustling street atmosphere and festive events.
* Telok Ayer, bounded by South Bridge Road, Cross Street, Boon Tat Street, Stanley Street, McCallum Street, Amoy Street, Ann Siang Road and Erskine Road, is associated with long rows of shophouses and religious buildings along Telok Ayer Street, and hilly residential and club houses at Ann Siang Hill.
* Bukit Pasoh, bounded by New Bridge Road, Keong Saik Road, Kreta Ayer Road, Neil Road and Cantonment Road, provides the setting for a mixture of residential, association and commercial activities.
* Tanjong Pagar, bounded by Neil Road, Maxwell Road, Peck Seah Street, Wallich Street, Tanjong Pagar Road and Craig Road, features winding streets and a mixture of residential and commercial activities.
There are altogether five national monuments within the Chinatown Historic District. They are the Sri Mariamman Temple and Jamae Mosque in Kreta Ayer, and the Thian Hock Keng Temple, Nagore Durgha Shrine and Al-Abrar Mosque in Telok Ayer.
The Kampong Glam Historic District, bounded by Ophir Road, Victoria Street, Jalan Sultan and Beach Road, was traditionally a Malay residential area with ethnic-based activities at the periphery and along Arab Street. Its unique characteristic lies in the contrast between its streetscape, with its low and uniform scale, and the large open spaces of the palace grounds. It is largely an area of shophouses with original texture and fabric. The presence and influence of the Arabs in the early 1910s were registered by the names allocated to its streets. The Sultan Mosque and the Istana Kampong Gelam, both national monuments, are located within the Kampong Glam Historic District.
The Little India Historic District, bounded by Serangoon Road, Sungei Road and Jalan Besar, is recognised as the hub of Indian community life in Singapore. It is well patronised by local Indians and people of other ethnic origins, and Indians from abroad. It was once used for agriculture and later for cattle trade. The District’s historical value lies in its rich variety of buildings, streetscape and urban texture of its main streets, side roads, backlanes and open spaces. Most of its built fabric of the late 19th century or early 20th century is still largely intact. The Abdul Gaffoor Mosque, a national monument, is located within the Little India Historic District.
Strata subdivision of shophouses in the Historic Districts is not allowed.
In the Historic Districts, only Art Deco and Modern style conserved buildings can be strata subdivided if they have the following features:
(a) Original purpose-built compartmentalized common staircase designed to serve different floors;
(b) Staircase forms part of the external architectural expression; and
(c) Original reinforced concrete floors and structures.
RESIDENTIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT
Residential Historic Districts
The historic buildings in Blair Plain, Cairnhill and Emerald Hill Conservation Areas are predominantly two-and three-storey terrace houses which stand in contrast to the neighbouring new and modern high-rise developments. Their low-rise urban form coupled with their narrow streets and architectural significance gives a streetscape not commonly found in Singapore.
The Blair Plain Residential Historic District, located to the west of the Downtown Core, is still an attractive residential area with some commercial activities along Kampong Bahru Road. It is a compact cluster of two-and threestorey shophouses and residential terrace houses of the Early, Transitional, Late Shophouse and Art Deco Styles.
House Nos. 1 to 89 (Odd Nos.) Kampong Bahru Road are zoned Commercial. House No. 167 Neil Road, House Nos. 52 and 54 Blair Road and House Nos. 63, 64, 68 & 69 Spottiswoode Park Road are zoned Residential with Commercial at the 1st storey. As they are within a residential area, it is preferable that they are used for residential purpose.
The Cairnhill Residential Historic District, located to the north-west of the Downtown Core, is a quiet residential area of predominantly two-storey terrace houses built in the Late Shophouse and Art Deco Styles. Today, though the area is surrounded by high-rise buildings of varying scale, the charm of the prewar terrace houses is still retained.
House No. 56 Cairnhill Road is zoned Commercial.
The Emerald Hill Residential Historic District located to the north-west of the Downtown Core, is an attractive and quiet residential area. It has some commercial premises in the shopping zone along Orchard Road. The predominantly two-storey terrace houses showcase a variety of architectural styles ranging from Transitional to Art Deco Styles built over ninety years. There are some modern high-rise buildings towards the northern end of Emerald Hill Road.
House No. 180 Orchard Road (Peranakan Place), House No. 202 Orchard Road, House Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 Emerald Hill Road and House Nos. 17 to 49 (Odd Nos.) Cuppage Road are zoned Commercial.
The Secondary Settlements in areas like Balestier, Beach Road, Geylang, Jalan Besar, Jalan Jurong Kechil, Joo Chiat, Mount Sophia, River Valley, Tanjong Katong, Upper Circular Road and Tiong Bahru were largely developed between the 1900s and the 1960s as a result of outward movement of the population from the city centre. Besides shophouses of various styles, some of the areas also have bungalows of the Early, Victorian and Art Deco Styles.
The Balestier Conservation Area is located along Balestier Road, between Thomson Road and Moulmein Road. The street blocks comprise a mix of twostorey pre-war shophouses as well as more recent three- to six-storey shop / flat developments. The buildings reflect the evolution of physical development since the 1840s and serve as reminders of the history of the area. The shophouses range from the Early Shophouse Style to the ornate Late Shophouse and the more streamlined Modern Style built after World War Two. Of particular visual interest are the ornate Late Style shophouses at the junctions of Kim Keat Road and Jalan Kemanan. Other key landmarks are the old Balestier Market from the 1920s and the Gochor Tua Pek Kong Temple and Wayang Stage with history which can be traced back to the 1840s.
The Beach Road Conservation Area is located just north of the Downtown Core. It consists of buildings along Purvis Street, Liang Seah Street and Tan Quee Lan Street which are the roads linking the major thoroughfares of North Bridge Road and South Bridge Road. The Beach Road Area was designated the European Town during the time of Raffles. It was located between the Commercial Quarter and Kampong Glam, and was the original seafront before reclamation. Its sea-frontage (which has since been reclaimed) made it the main European residential area as well as that of the wealthy Asians. The area is mainly dominated by two- and threestorey shophouses built in blocks of identical architectural features and ornamentations, with each block being different from the other.
The Geylang Conservation Area is located 5km to the east of the city and stretches along Geylang Road and selected lorongs. Historically, the area was probably a processing centre for local agricultural produce and fishing. Its history dates as far back as the 1840s when the British Government resettled the Malay floating village at the mouth of the Singapore River to this area. Today, the wide range of shophouses along Geylang Road; the combination of the low-rise bungalows and rows of shophouses along the lorongs provide a gentle contrast, giving this area a rich architectural heritage.
The Jalan Besar Conservation Area is located just outside the boundaries of the Little India Historic District and stretches along Jalan Besar and Foch Road, the upper portions of Tessensohn Road, Race Course Road and Tyrwhitt Road, along Cavan Road and Hamilton Road, parts of Serangoon Road, Lavender Street, Kitchener Road, Sam Leong Road, Maude Road. It also includes the ornate row of terrace houses along Petain Road. The area was originally an estate of over six acres extending from Serangoon Road to Jalan Besar, where historically, sireh and nipah were extensively cultivated. The area is significant for its historic streetscapes created by buildings with a variety of vernacular architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period in Singapore’s history when the elaborately decorated shophouses flourished.
Jalan Jurong Kechil
The Jalan Jurong Kechil Conservation Area is situated at the junction of Upper Bukit Timah Road and Jalan Jurong Kechil. It consists of ten two-storey Transitional style shophouses and three Art Deco Style single-storey terraces which contribute to the streetscape experience of the Anak Bukit area. Their pre-war architecture make the remaining row of shophouses stand out as an important landmark located at the entrances to the Anak Bukit area.
The Joo Chiat Conservation Area stretches along the entire main Joo Chiat Road, the upper portion of Onan Road, parts of Joo Chiat Terrace, Joo Chiat Place, Everitt Road, Koon Seng Road and Tembeling Road. It also includes the stretch of East Coast Road from Marshall Road to Telok Kurau Road. The area was originally part of a coconut plantation which stretched inland from the coast to what is Geylang Serai today. The area is not only rich in architecture and history but is also a thriving commercial and residential node today. Joo Chiat, with rich historical links to the Peranakan culture, is a renowned food paradise. A wide variety of shophouses and bungalow styles which reflect the prevailing architecture at the turn of the century can be found within this area.
The Mount Sophia Conservation Area, located between the historically important areas of Fort Canning / Bras Basah, the Little India and Jalan Besar Conservation Areas, is an important part of the old inner city of Singapore since the turn of the 19th century. The different shophouse styles which chart the evolution of developments along Selegie Road gave this important trunk road its signature streetscape. The largely intact terrace houses along Niven Road present a charming intimate streetscape while the shophouses along Mackenzie Road remain vibrant after many years. Marking the entrance to Mount Sophia are the Church of Christ of Malaya and Sophia Flats, both established landmarks of the area.
The River Valley Conservation Area is adjacent to the Robertson Quay area to the south of River Valley Road. It consists of buildings lining Mohamed Sultan Road from its junction with River Valley Road up to its junction with Kim Yam Road. The area also includes stretches of Tong Watt Road and Kim Yam Road near Mohamed Sultan Road and a group of buildings located at the junction of Kim Yam Road and River Valley Road. The shophouses within this area played an important role in the early trading activities of Singapore which was centred on the Singapore River. These shophouses catered to the owners and workers of the godowns and warehouses along the river. The shophouses are mainly of the Late Shophouse and Transitional Shophouse Styles.
The Tanjong Katong Conservation Area is located along Tanjong Katong Road, between Dunman Road and Mountbatten Road. The ornate Late Style and the more geometric Art Deco Style shophouses together with the more streamlined Modern Style shophouses built after the World War Two provide the critical mass that gives this historic road its sense of place and help anchor the social memory for both residents and visitors. Other landmarks along the road are the former Tanjong Katong Girls School, built in 1954 by the then Public Works Department. The Tanjong Katong Post Office and the Telecom Exchange Building are also prominent markers.
Upper Circular Road
The Upper Circular Conservation Area is bounded by Upper Circular Road, South Bridge Road, North Canal Road and New Bridge Road. It contains mainly three- to five-storey buildings built mainly in the 1930s to the late 1960s and are of different Modern architectural styles. They serve as important markers of what “Modern” meant to each generation and how architectural taste has evolved with the passage of time.
The Tiong Bahru Conservation Area is bounded by Outram Road, Seng Poh Road, Yong Siak Street and the Central Expressway. Tiong Bahru estate, the first public housing in Singapore, is well known and valued by Singaporeans. The flats built by the then Singapore Improvement Trust mark an important period of public housing in Singapore before the formation of Housing Development Board. The estate is an illustration of the distinctive planning and architectural ideas prevalent in British public housing of the same period. The two rows of shophouses within the area and the single-storey building located within the streetblock along Outram Road are closely associated to Tiong Bahru estate, being very much a part of its physical fabric. Fronting Tiong Bahru and Outram Road, they are highly visible to those who pass through the area.
Bungalows are independent dwelling units usually of one- or two-storeys. They tend to be located in serene and wooded environments away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Bungalows were first introduced into Singapore and Malaya by the British in the 1830s. The early versions of the bungalow were largely one-storey and had timber floors elevated on brick piers or timber posts to allow air circulation underneath. The old bungalows in Singapore generally fall into five types. These are:
1 The Early Bungalow (1860s)
This bungalow is characterised by single storey buildings on stilts constructed either of timber or masonry.
2 The Victorian Bungalow (1870-1890s)
This bungalow is characterised by the heavy application of decorative ornamentation on the facade.
3 The Black and White Bungalow (1900-1920s)
This bungalow is characterised by its half-timber construction, broad, simple, over-hanging hipped roof and the sharp definition of openings in the plain white walls.
4 The Art Deco Bungalow (Late 1920s-1930s)
This bungalow is characterised by the simple, geometric streamlining of the classical motifs on its facade.
5 The Modern Bungalow (1950s-1960s)
This bungalow is characterised by its geometric, free-form approach.
The different types of bungalows to be conserved are largely located within the following conservation areas:
(a) Good Class Bungalow Areas
i. Chatsworth Park
ii. Holland Park & Ridout Road
iii. Nassim Road & White House Park
(b) Mountbatten Road
(c) Southern Ridges
Some are located within gazetted Conservation Areas like Joo Chiat andGeylang while a few are stand-alone conserved bungalows.