Friday, January 16, 2009

Conservation of Katong/Joo Chiat area

100 more buildings
THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday announced that another 100 buildings in the Joo Chiat and Katong area will be conserved to keep its charm and character.

Among the 100 are three bungalows, including the former Grand Hotel at Still Road South, two churches, St Hilda’s Church and Bethesda (Katong) Church and 95 shophouses and terrace buildings along Tembeling Road, Koon Seng Road, Crane Road and Onan Road.

They join the already 700 buildings in Joo Chiat/Katong that have been conserved by the URA since 1993. These are mostly shophouses on Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road.

The Joo Chiat/Katong area is well known for its varied mix of architecture, history, culture and activities. It was an established and attractive residential area since the 1920s. Shophouses, terrace ouses, detached bungalows and seaside mansions can be found in the area.

In a statement, URA said the buildings chosen for conservation were selected based on their architectural merits, cultural, social and historical significance of the buildings, in addition to their contribution to the streetscape and identity of the place. For example, the two-storey Art Deco and

Late-style shophouses at Koon Seng Road are distinctive local landmarks.

Another iconic landmark in the area is the former Grand Hotel at 25 Still Road South. The bungalow was built in the Vicrtorian style with an Indian influence, and was once part of a larger estate known as the Karikal Mahal. Another house across the road, which was also part of the estate has already
been conserved.

URA’s conservation programme was launched in the early 1980s and to date, more than 6,800 buildings around Singapore have been conserved.

Under conservation rules, the facades and major structures of conserved properties cannot be altered. Owners however can choose to restore them. The interiors of conserved properties can be altered to suit new requirements.

The news of the additional buildings to be conserved came as a delight to members of the Save Joo Chiat workgroup. The group was formed in 2004 by residents wanting to promote its Peranakan heritage

‘The more buildings conserved in this area the better,’ says its spokesman, Mr Colin Chee. ‘This enhances the heritage status of the neighbourhood.’

The latest 100 buildings in Katong and Joo Chiat to join the conservation list:

Shophouses and terrace houses
The 95 shophouses and terrace houses to be conserved are around four main areas in Joo Chiat and Katong.

3, 5, 7-15, 22-32 Crane Road, 64-76, 71-75 Carpmael Road and 169-181 Onan Road

The shophouses here are two and three-storey ones built in the Traditional and Modern styles. They are the gateway between the private developments along Crane Road and the Haig Road public housing estate.

55-66, 57-61, 89-99 Koon Seng Road and 89-99, 101-113 Everitt Road.

These two-storey Art Deco and Late-style shophouses are distinctive local landmarks.

253-271 Tembeling Road and 1-19 Cheow Keng Road

The shophouses here are two-storey built in the Transitional style.

14-40 Chapel Road and 205-213 Marine Parade Road

These two-storey Transitional-style buildings can be seen from Marine Parade Road, and are familar markers to residents here.

St Hilda’s Church was constructed in 1949. The single-storey chapel has a steep pitched roof and a Victorian-style conical tower.

Bethesda (Katong) Church

This single-storey church was built in the late 1930s as has a symmetrical look.

These were former seaside bungalows which were weekend homes for wealthy merchants.

25 Still Road South

This huge bungalow and another bungalow opposite the road, were once part of a larger estate known as the Karikal Mahal. This bungalow was built in the Victorian style.

37 Marine Parade Road

This single-storey bungalow was once owned by businessman Choa Kim Keat of whom Kim Keat Road is named after. It was formerly a seaside retreat.

25 Chapel Road

Built on stilts, this single-storey bungalow was common during Singapore’s early days. Being elevated prevented the house from flooding during high tides.

Source : Straits Times - 16 Jan 2009

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