Same old brand new landmarks

MANY Singaporeans may remember taking their wedding photos at the Look-out Tower at the Toa Payoh Town Park in the past.

Today, the memories will live on not only in picture albums but through the efforts of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

The statutory board is expanding its conservation programme for buildings and monuments to include heritage structures.

“What makes a place distinctive and elegant are not just the buildings. It could be an elegant tower, a historic bridge, or a beautiful pavilion … places where we spent quality time with our friends and family,” National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said on Friday.

Six other pavilions and towers will also be kept. They include the Swan Lake gazebo and Band Stand at Botanic Gardens, the observatory tower at Seletar Reservoir Park and the floating pavilion at MacRitchie Reservoir.

Six historic bridges will also be conserved. They include the Elgin Bridge at Boat Quay, the first vehicular bridge to be built across the Singapore River, Cavenagh Bridge outside Fullerton Hotel and the Crawford, Ord and Read bridges. Anderson Bridge, now part of the history-making Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, is also on the list.

“Most of these bridges are over 100 years old and are engineering feats of their time. They act as important landmarks of our rivers,” said Mr Mah at the 2008 URA Architectural Heritage Award presentation ceremony.

Singapore Heritage Society president Dr Kevin Tan applauded the “long-overdue” move. Historical artefacts that lie outside a conservation area tend to be neglected, he told Today, and URA’s initiative will help to “preserve these important iconic structures for our future generations”.

The URA will also conserve four “Black and White” houses at Bukit Chermin, bringing the number of these conserved colonial houses to 29.

Seven restoration projects were recognised at this year’s heritage awards, which are given for work done by owners, architects, engineers and contractors to conserve buildings while catering to modern needs.

The awards went to Sri Temasek at the Istana, film and foodie haven The Screening Room at Ann Siang Hill and five residential projects, which include The Sea View Clubhouse, Tan Chin Tuan Mansion, a black and white bungalow at No 14 Cable Road and a restored double-storey shophouse at No 120 Cairnhill Road.

The fifth residential project is Citylights at No 82 Jellicoe Road. Once a row of 16 motor workshops, the reconfigured 10 units of double and triple-storey pre-war shophouses now anchor a high-rise residential development.

Mr Mah said: “The identity of a city evolves from its history, culture, and collective memories of its inhabitants … These heritage buildings give our city a distinctive character and lend soul to our urban environment.”

A total of 84 restoration projects have received the annual URA Architectural Heritage Awards since it started in 1995.

Source : Today – 4 Oct 2008

Join The Discussion

Compare listings