Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oct 1, 2007

228 houses, buildings in Katong, Joo Chiat picked for conservation
By Tan Hui Yee

THE rich heritage of Katong and Joo Chiat area will get added protection soon as the Urban Redevelopment Authority has earmarked another 228 buildings there to be saved from the wrecker's ball.

These buildings include well-known landmarks like St Hilda's Church as well as Betheda (Katong) Church, as well as the former Grand Hotel in Still Road South.

Three other bungalows, in Marine Parade Road, Chapel Road and Joo Chiat Road have also been earmarked.

The conservation plan was revealed by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on Monday at Urban Redevelopment Authority's Architectural Heritage Awards ceremony.
The East Coast area, the traditional home of Singapore's Eurasian and Peranakan communities, have been a popular residential district and is well-known for its diverse and charming architecture.

It is also a treasure trove of eateries serving both local and international favourites

The URA has informed the owners about its conservation proposal and will make the final decision after getting their feedback.

If they are given conservation status, the owners cannot tear them down or alter major structures or facade of the buildings.

These 228 buildings will bring the number of conserved buildings in the district to about 900.
There are more than 6,500 buildings that have been conserved islandwide.

As early as the 1920s, the Katong/Joo Chiat area was regarded as an attractive residential suburb.

The main roads were lined with rows of colourful and distinctive shophouses, with the retail businesses on the ground floor and the living quarters above.

Off the main roads were Kampongs and terrace houses. It was also known for big bungalows for the rich. Larger and grander seaside mansions dotted the coastline, giving their occupants unobstructed views to the sea and the beach front.

Winners of the 2007 Architectural Heritage Award
1) The National Museum of Singapore

Zinc fish-scale tiles of its dome were carefully taken down, cleaned or replaced. Part of the original tiled roof was cut away to incorporate a glass connector, which also gives visitor a see-through view of the historic dome. The new rear extension complements and invigorates the grand old dame.

2) Chek Jawa Visitor Centre
This is believed to be Singapore’s only remaining authentic Tudor-style house with a fireplace. It was sensitively restored - from the honeycombed-shaped terracotta floor tiles right down to its door knobs and light switches.

3) National University of Singapore’s Law School
Home to the varoius institutions for more than 80 years, it had to be adapted to meet the functions of NUS’ law faculty. Boarded-up windows were opened again while distinctive sun-shading fins of its Science Tower were reinstated. The original forecourt between the two buildings were enhanced as an entrance courtyard.

4) Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa
The former military barracks on Sentosa were converted into an eco-sanctuary with a tropical feel. Working around the many mature trees in the area, the owners restored the original timber louvre windows and doors, as well as the balustrades and other features like the terracotta roof tiles.

5) 13 Martaban Road
This transitional style terrace house was formerly used as a dormitory for orderlies fom the nearby Tan Tock Seng Hospital. It has since been restored into a modern home filled with natural light and ventilation.

6) 62 Niven Road
This low and squat shophouse in the Mount Sophia area is nestled between a sari shop and a Indian grocery store. Its tight space with maximised with a four-storey extension at its rear, where full length glass windows and a steel mesh sunscreen bring modern function to old world gravity.

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