Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rules of conservation

More than 6,500 buildings have been marked for conservation since the URA started its urban conservation programme in the 1980s. Conserved buildings fall under four main district areas. As well as general rules, each area and building type also has additional specific restoration guidelines.

Historical districts
These date back to Singapore’s founding in 1819 and include Chinatown, Boat Quay and Little India. Most buildings are shophouses. The buildings have architectural features unique to the different races and cultures that have lived there. Some area-specific guidelines include preserving the building’s exterior and interior in their original states.

Residential historic districts
Applies to rows of terrace houses along the streets of Cairnhill and Emerald Hill. Most are people’s homes although some are commercial premises.

The guidelines have some allowances, such as permitting a rear extension, for owners who want to maximise living space.

For houses used as businesses, shopfronts cannot be a blank wall as this would be out of character. Decorative features on the facade must also be kept and restored.

Good Class Bungalow and fringe areas
Bungalows in this category include those in Nassim Road, Chatsworth Park and Mountbatten Road. They are usually in woody areas and are either one or two storeys. The architecture is a mix of Western and local building styles.

The URA specifies that the main house must be kept, although outhouses can be demolished for extensions. If it is large enough, the land can be also divided for other developments.

Secondary settlements
This covers old buildings surrounded mostly by newer developments, such as shophouses in areas like Jalan Besar, Joo Chiat, Mount Sophia and River Valley.

Here, the external facade, the original structure and defining features must remain untouched.

Owners may modify the interior to suit their needs.

Source: Straits Times - 31 Jan 2009

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