Eight shophouses in Jalan Besar to be gazetted for conservation

Eight shophouses in Jalan Besar – 593 Serangoon Road, 458 Race Course Road and 1 to 11 Balestier Road, will be put up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for conservation status.

The conservation of these eight shophouses will complete the cluster of heritage buildings along Serangoon Road, Race Course Road and Tessensohn Road, and add to the rich character and history of the Jalan Besar Conservation Area. The eight pre-World War II shophouses are predominantly of Art Deco style and reflect the urbanisation of Singapore at that time.

593 Serangoon Road, a two-storey Art Deco style shophouse, has become a prominent landmark at Serangoon Road and Balestier Road junction, with its curved frontage that many are familiar with. The building has also been home to the Singapore Institute of Science since 1952, one of the first institutions in Singapore to hold science laboratory classes.

Mr Teng Tieu Guan, the property owner of 593 Serangoon Road who also grew up in the area, was pleased that the building will be conserved. His grandparents operated a coffeeshop on the ground floor in the 1970s and bought over the building in the 1980s. Mr Teng said, “Having stayed here for decades, all of us have very strong attachment to this area. Keeping our built heritage helps bind the community to the place and conserving this shophouse is what my grandparents had always wanted.”

As part of URA’s study of the area, another 24 buildings – 278 to 324 (even) Lavender Street, have been identified and are being studied for possible conservation. The 24 buildings are three blocks of Art Deco style shophouses flanking the north side of Lavender Street. Together with the conserved buildings on the southern side of the street, they serve to retain the historic streetscape, flanked by the familiar facades of the shophouses on both sides of Lavender Street. Feedback is being sought from owners, heritage and community groups as part of the public consultation process.

URA works with owners, stakeholders and the larger community to raise awareness of our built heritage through their sharing of stories. We welcome members of the public to be our partners in promoting the heritage of these buildings or share their memories of Jalan Besar.

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