A shophouse is a vernacular architectural building type that is commonly seen in areas such as urban Southeast Asia. Shophouses are mostly two or three stories high, with a shop on the ground floor for mercantile activity and a residence above the shop. This hybrid building form characterises the historical centres of most towns and cities in the Southeast Asia region.
An interesting article on Singapore shophouses can be found in http://www.postcolonialweb.org/singapore/arts/architecture/shophouse/intro.html.
Though many of the iconic shophouses are found in the city centre, there are also quite a number of peranankan themed shophouses in the east, especially in Katong and Joo Chiat area. The early development of Katong was as a seaside resort, with holiday homes and beachfront bungalows built along the east coast beaches. The style in Katong shophouses was known as Rococo, and they built during the 1930s.