Category Archives: Heritage

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Beautiful katong semi detached house for rent. Near Katong eateries, malls, schools ( Tao Nan, Ngee Ann, CHIJ, St Patrick’s, Victoria School and Junior College). Partially furnished with garden. 4 bedrooms with guest room at level 1. 3800/2800sqft. Available now. Call David at 94772121 for viewing.

Saving Dakota Crescent

On local press recently, there is a group of architects, led by Mr Jonathan Poh, seeking to save parts of Dakota Crescent. Dakota Crescent is one of the oldest public housing estate in the island. The group is submitting a paper to MND to provide various options to save the entire area, as well as conserving parts of the iconic structures in the estate.

Based on the government’s rejuvenation plans for old housing estates, the 17 rental blocks in Dakota Crescent is primed for demolition. The residents have to vacate the area by end of 2016, to either nearby Cassia Crescent or elsewhere if they decide to buy a new flat. The site is reserved for future residential development.

The conservation plan include 8 “butterfly blocks” — curved buildings with 2 perpendicular wings at the back; blocks 10 and 20, which are similar to the already demolished blocks in St Michael’s estate in Whampoa and the Princess and Duchess estates in Queenstown. The flats were built SIT in 1958.

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Keppel Land became the retail Manager for i12 Katong

On Sunday, Keppel Corp announced that Keppel Land has acquired a 22.4 per cent stake in 112 Katong mall from BHG, Imagine Properties and Perennial Singapore Investment for S$51.4 million.

Its fund management vehicle, Alpha Investment Partners also hold the remaining 77.6 per cent stake via Alpha Asia Macro Trends Fund. Keppel Land Retail Management will be appointed as the retail manager for the mall.

CEO of Keppel Land Ang Wee Gee said the property management company will focus on strengthening 112 Katong’s positioning as a lifestyle and dining destination in the East.

Row of Joo Chiat Shophouses up for sale

A row of five conserved shophouses in the Joo Chiat Conservation Area is up for sale by expression of interest.

The adjoining shophouses have a total land area of about 7,504 sq ft. The site has a plot ratio of 3, which allows a maximum gross floor area of about 22,511 sq ft.

The vendor is a privately held investment holding firm which has held the freehold properties for more than 10 years. It is evaluating whether to sell the property in its freehold tenure, or to sell it on a 99-year leasehold basis and keep its reversionary interest after the lease expires, said marketing agent Chestertons.

“We are soliciting bids on a freehold and 99-year lease basis from prospective investors. Yield-driven investors may find the 99-year leasehold tenure more palatable,” said Mr Donald Han, managing director of Chestertons.

The vendor will decide the tenure disposal after the expression of interest closes.

It is expecting bids on a freehold basis to be more than $14 million.

Mr Han said sales activity in the area has increased of late, with more than 10 similar transactions in Joo Chiat Road since April.

The keen interest reflects its proximity to Paya Lebar, he said.

“Investors are looking for catalysts before deciding where and when to put their money.

“The Paya Lebar sub-regional centre is a compelling catalyst, where we have seen the completion and opening of OneKM Mall and Paya Lebar Square.”

Upcoming projects in the area include civic centre Wisma Geylang Serai and the large integrated development by Lend Lease and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which will have about 1.4 million sq ft of net lettable office and retail area, and another 440 residential units.

The expression of interest closes on Oct 8.

Joo Chiat freehold shophouse block sold for S$16.8M

A freehold shophouse block comprising five units along Joo Chiat Road has been sold for S$16.8 million. The price works out to S$1,357 per square foot based on the lettable area of 12,382 sq ft.

The site is zoned for commercial use within the Joo Chiat Conservation Area, a secondary settlement. The front of the building has two storeys and an attic – and this part of the building has to be conserved. However, the rear portion, which is four storeys high, can be torn down and rebuilt up to five storeys.

The five units were originally said to have separate land lots but were amalgamated at some point in the past, resulting in a boutique building that stands currently on a single land lot and bearing the address 201 Joo Chiat Road.

201 Joo Chiat Road is being sold by Kota Development, which is linked to the Lee family that founded OCBC.

The buyer is a company understood to be linked to Singapore-based SilkRoad Property Partners, a property investment management company and fund manager. The company was set up in 2012 by the former AEW Asia senior management team led by Peter Wittendorp.

BT understands the transaction was a private treaty sale.

CBRE confirmed it brokered the sale of 201 Joo Chiat Road but when contacted, Sammi Lim, associate director (investment properties), declined to comment on the transaction.

201 Joo Chiat Road has some unutilised plot ratio (ratio of maximum gross floor area to land area). Its current gross floor area (GFA) of around 15,800 sq ft is 2.6 times the site area of 6,031 sq ft – lower than the maximum 3.0 plot ratio indicated for the site under Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2014.

Currently, the building is only partially leased – as offices and showrooms. Two of the five ground-floor units are said to have been approved for food and beverage use although they are not being utilised for this purpose at the moment. The property has five attached car park lots accessible via a backlane.

There is scope to drive up the property’s rental income, especially if the asset undergoes renovation once leases expire, said market watchers.

“The price is quite reasonable but the new owner will have to pump in some money and do a fair amount of spruce-up; currently the building has low occupancy and rental rates,” said a conservation shophouse industry observer.

Another company in the Lee family stable recently divested a plum light industrial building next to the upcoming Bendemeer MRT Station on the Downtown Line for S$88 million.

The property has been bought by entities linked to Raymond Ng Ah Hua, who controls property group BS Capital as well as listed Enviro-Hub Holdings.

On site is a seven-storey property, which has a basement car park. There are also some surface car park lots.

The building, which was completed in 2002 to high-tech industrial specifications, is on a 79,818 sq ft site with a balance lease term of 50 years. Industry watchers say the existing development has probably tapped the maximum allowable GFA for the site.

The S$88 million price for the property works out to around S$500 psf based on its net lettable area of around 175,000 sq ft. The multi-tenanted building is nearly fully let.

First Heritage survey gives conservation efforts a boost

The first survey of Singapore’s heritage sites and structures will kick off within “the next two months”, a move that could help the authorities map out its conservation and preservation efforts.

The project, which will be a comprehensive study of existing heritage sites, will also aid the Government in its land planning and take about 16 months to complete.

The survey will study places of architectural, historical, cultural, social or educational significance, and include sites or structures completed in or before 1980.

The effort, announced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong in March, is expected to cost approximately $1 million and will have two components, said the National Heritage Board (NHB).

The first involves “desktop research” that will tap maps, newspaper records, archival material and other publications to consolidate data about a place.

The second involves field work that will document and photograph the geographic coordinates, typology and physical condition of the structure or site.

If information is limited, interviews with the community and other stakeholders will be conducted.

The board will use its findings to work with the Urban Redevelopment Authority at each stage of land planning. This includes the 10-year Concept Plan or the five-year Master Plan. Significant buildings and structures identified through the survey could undergo further research for possible preservation or conservation.

NHB chief executive Rosa Daniel said the exercise is a step forward in enhancing the country’s capabilities in research, documentation and commemoration.

“As Singapore’s population grows, it is important to ensure that, in tandem with intensified development, there are increased efforts to preserve our heritage,” she said.

The NHB said it adapted the heritage survey from similar ones done in other cities. It cited Hong Kong’s 1996 survey in which over 8,800 historic buildings built before 1950 were identified. This was followed by in-depth research and assessment to identify buildings of heritage value.

Singapore’s version will be guided by members of a newly formed eight-member Heritage Advisory Panel comprising architecture, geography, sociology, anthropology and history experts.

They include Professor Brenda Yeoh, dean of the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Mr Eric Chin, the director of the National Archives of Singapore; and Mr Zahidi Abdul Rahman, principal architect of Zahidi A.R. Arkitek.

The heritage community welcomed the survey as it represents the first step towards a more long-term strategic plan for heritage issues.

Dr Kevin Tan, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites Singapore, said that for the survey to be effective, the criteria for what constitutes a heritage building should be “crafted as widely as possible”. For it to be truly comprehensive, he believes surveyors should comb every square metre of the Republic.

Heritage enthusiast and editor Choo Lip Sin believes the survey will help the authorities make more informed decisions. He hopes there will be space for public input to be factored into the exercise, “beyond what the authorities value as heritage”.

A separate survey on the country’s intangible heritage, spanning cultural activities and traditional trades or businesses, will be launched at the end of the year.

Culture of high-rise gardens taking root

SINGAPORE has hit its greening targets two decades before its deadline of 2030 – and the Government has decided to raise the bar significantly.

Last year, plants covering building exteriors totalled more than 61ha, an area the size of 195 school fields.

This far exceeded the target of 50ha the government had hoped to hit by 2030.

The new target is now 200ha of building greenery by the same deadline.

A spokesman from the National Parks Board (NParks) attributed the rapid increment of skyrise greenery to several programmes.

This includes the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s enhanced Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (Lush) programme, and NParks’ Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme, which offers incentives and subsidies to encourage the installation of skyrise greenery.

The greenery targets were spelt out in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint – first in 2009 and again in the latest document released last Saturday.

This blueprint sets out the Republic’s targets and strategies for sustainable development until 2030, in areas such as recycling and air quality.

Green roofs, vertical greenery and gardens in the sky can reduce urban heat gain, which could translate into energy savings, said Mr Tan Seng Chai, group chief corporate officer of CapitaLand and chairman of the CapitaLand Sustainability Steering Committee.

For instance, green roofs and walls can cool surface temperatures by up to 18 deg C and 12 deg C, respectively.

Skyrise greenery also has the potential to improve air quality and create habitats to enhance biodiversity in urban areas.

The new target is not too ambitious, the NParks spokesman said, adding: “We are confident that with the whole of government approach coupled with partnership with private developers, this target is achievable.”

For NParks, this would include working with other agencies, such as the Education Ministry, as well as developers of public and community infrastructure, to green their buildings.

The Housing Board is also looking to incorporate skyrise greenery into their buildings so that it becomes “a signature of their developments”. The private sector also welcomed the new target.

“In land-scarce Singapore… more skyrise greenery can maximise the use of space to bring about many benefits,” said Mr Allen Ang, head of innovation and green building at property developer City Developments.

Mr Stephen Pimbley, founder and director of architecture firm Spark Architects, said much of Singapore’s skyrise greenery is “fairly divorced” from the everyday experience of architecture.

He said: “Imagine if our City in a Garden were able to grow its own food – Singapore could boast a network of productive urban gardens and reduce the need for food importation.”

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East Coast Church won S’pore Institute of Architects’ Award

Christ Methodist Church won the Design Award in the institutional projects category at the Singapore Institute of Architects Awards. It was also shortlisted as one of five projects in the religion category at the World Architecture Festival.

When architect Ko Shiou Hee presented his design proposal for a new building to members of the Christ Methodist Church, he received a standing ovation from the 20-strong crowd.

The director at K2LD Architects was shocked. “That has never happened to me before and the church members told me that their pastor usually does not react to any situation,” says the 50-year-old, who was designing a church for the first time.

Needless to say, his firm got the project.

The focus of his design was to change the way members, and even passers-by, saw the 84-year-old church.

The former building was a single- storey space fronted by a carpark. A kindergarten was also crammed at the back, where a three-storey extension stood.

Even Mr Ko, who used to live for more than a decade at St Patrick’s Garden, a condominium across the street, never noticed there was a church along East Coast Road. “The church needed a new presence, for more people to notice that it was there.”

The traditional sanctuary was transformed into a theatre-like space that can hold 1,000 people. The other floors house a multi-purpose hall, baptism pool, band practice room, dance studio and classrooms.

There is also a basement carpark and greenery on both sides of the church, which many of the fellowship rooms face.

The highlight feature is the wave-like facade. Mr Ko says he was influenced by the church’s proximity to the sea. Clad in aluminium strips, little crosses are cut into the facade and they light up and glow against a muted backdrop in the night.

And to pay homage to the church’s heritage, Peranakan tiles decorate parts of the floor in the building.

The $20-million project took almost four years to complete. The church wanted a larger building, but was initially restricted by government regulations due to plot ratio control. This regulation was changed midway through construction and the building was completed with four storeys and an attic.

The new building is a stark contrast to old, traditional churches, something Mr Ko was conscious of when he came up with the design.

“I think of those historic churches in Europe. They are pretty, but no one is inside worshipping,” he says.

“That’s not what a church is meant to be. People should want to use it.”


Project Description:

The concept of this project was not thought of simply for its form and function, but the hope and connectivity it will bring to the people of this church.

During the day, the church rests in the backdrop of the magnolia white sky, a building designed to be welcoming and at one with its surroundings, offering visitors asylum and peace.

As the sun retreats and darkness creeps, the church transforms into illumination. The front, reminiscent of little crosses dancing across the meniscus facade of the church,while the back, a contrast of dynamic light and linear installations, display a spectacular effect, a giant cross bathed in falling stars. A reminder of the primordial beauty and power of God, but most importantly, that he will guide you especially in the darkest of times.

Wear an Artpiece, Touch a Legacy


Batik art was rather unappealing to me for quite a long time. Preferring contemporary art work, I thought Batik art as somewhat outdated and unfashionable. Even old Chinese art fascinated me more than Batik. The closest encounter I had with Batik art, was during a trip to Genting in 2001. It was during a short trip shortly after my graduation when my friends and I were thinking of visiting the casino, but we were not in the right attire. Based on the management, we have to wear either collared formal or Batik wear. Being newly-minted engineering graduates then, our apparel style was just the basic streetwear of T-shirts and jeans. That killed off any idea of visiting the casino there even till now, as well as any positive feel in this art ironically.

After the visit to Kiah’s Gallery in 71 Unit B Sultan Gate, my encounter for Batik art took a new twist. The owners of the gallery, Yati and Ain, introduced  a new batik world to my partner and I . What I thought as just some outdated craft in making clothes is actually a detailed art with centuries of history. It has influences from Chinese, Indian, Dutch and other cultures, which periodically have a major influence in the South-East Asia region over the past millennia. Every fabric has a story to tell and a culture to teach.

SAMSUNG CSCUsing each batik fabric, one can tailor into fashionable apparel according to one’s needs. Kiah’s Gallery is retailer of Batik art as well as customizer of batik wear. Their passion to revive the dying batik art propelled them to share with the public, using dedicated craftwork and skillful hands into an fashionable wear one can put on their body.

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCEvery batik fabric is an delicate piece of art. The fine prints as well as the details of every step can be observed on the fabric itself.

SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCAt Kiah’s Gallery, the owners have prepared many fashion wear based on the batik fabric. Styles similar to Chinese, Arabic, African and modern wear can be found in Kiah’s Gallery. Each batik fabric can be bought from $35 onwards, while each fashion artwear can be had from $100 onwards.

If you are interested to find out more, you can visit Kiah’s Gallery @ 71B Sultan Gate in Kampong Glam. 71 sultan gate