Add to Collection
About

About

Heritage walk...the buildings of Serangoon, Singapore
Published:
Architectural Feast
...a journey into the past...an architectural feast
I am not an architect by profession, nor by training, but somehow the nature of buildings, especially those located in the sub-downtown areas of Singapore just drew me in. I'm a sucker for looking at the beauty of how these low-rise structures just seemingly make the areas more complete...giving it more flavour and character, compared to the tall behemoths that is pervading the Singapore skyline right now.

On one of my photo walks, I am drawn to the idea of how these buildings of yesteryears, which were mostly built during the pre-World War 2 days, are just so full of character. I wonder how the architects, and maybe even the artists, have put in so much effort in using that low-rised-ness of these structures to display their artistry. Given that limited amount of 'canvas space' that they have, they seem to be more than successful in giving some character...perhaps even life, to the structures that they design...and most probably help to build.

A lone bicycle chained/parked in front of a closed shop.
Love the details of the spiral staircase. Not too sure about its ability to function now, but I guess it must have been quite an aesthetic appeal for one to be located outside of your place/house...and a white one to boot.
Just love the look and feel of these 2-storey shophouses. Surprisingly in this development-mad Singapore, the major bulk of its original pre-war features are still relatively intact...wooden-windows, external drainage and all.
Was surprised to see the Workers' Party headquarters located here. Pleasant surprise as I didn't really know or expect to find it here. But I guess the fact that it is rather prominent within the area that it is located, i.e. with good frontage and at the corner of the row of shophouses, is something that WP supporters should be proud of. Who knows, they might just move to some place better, when resources are more readily available.
Sometimes the views that one could see at the alleys and sidewalks are what makes these photo walks around shophouses interesting. You'd be surprised at the number of 'supporting elements' that are present in these alleys. Things such as rubbish bins, air-con compressors, electrical switchboards, etc. I was wondering whether these are peculiar only to modern-day situations, or are these lanes and alleys already accorded such functions during their heydays?
Love the sun-shade function of the windows, wooden and all. I wouldn't be surprised if these are the original windows themselves. Love the touch of zinc that are used for the sun-shade, perhaps an extension of the zinc-roofed features widely available back then. Perhaps these are leftover materials that were discarded by others, and reused by the owners of these units to add value and function to the leftovers.
A more modern-looking sun-roofing feature. More modern perhaps, but definitely serves the same function as the picture before this. The irony here are the compressors that dotted the walls too, juxtaposing the old and the new!
Waves on the City Square. A nice feature and addition, to the latest and presumably, one of the greenest building in Singapore.
I can't help but be mesmerized by the details of the building. I thought the columns reflect some Roman influences, but not being a student of Architecture, I might just be guessing here. But still, strange, yet nice, to see some features here!
A face?
Even the modern-day bin located within a few blocks of apartments are coloured and painted with some degree of aesthetics, to blend in with the environment. I thought the overlap of lines of the apartment block in the background, just aligns nicely with the slanted linear features of the bin centre in the foreground.
Another row of shop houses that were so details-rich. Wish I could just spend some time under a much cooler weather, to just look at these details, and maybe perhaps sketch a drawing or two.
Love the use of 4-sided polygons to form an aesthetically-arranged window panes. Repeated all along the entire length and breadth of the building facade.
In the midst of the rows of shophouses, a 3-storey structure that caught my eye was one that was built with a raw-bricks motif. My mind immediately thought of the old fire station at Hill Street, which has very much the same look and feel. Am wondering what the building is now used for?
The walk through these areas for my photo-shoots was definitely enriching for me, both as a photographer, and as a Singaporean. It gives me a greater sense of aesthetics and appreciation to what we have over here. Though not trained in the architectural field, but I though there could be more than meets the eye, when it comes to the beauty of how and why are the buildings designed these way.

I just hope I am able to trigger and heighten your senses to some of the buildings that you have seen here in my photographs. My hope is that there would be a greater degree of appreciation to such structures and buildings amongst my viewers and audiences, whether locally here in Singapore, or overseas. Regardless of wherever you are, my only wish is that we would become better individuals, who would learn to appreciate such details and things in our lives, and would inspire us to better ourselves, for the sake of humanity, and our children.

Irfan Darian