Shophouses: Singapore’s Hidden Gems
Visiting Singapore for the first time, it’s easy to jaw-drop looking at the Singapore skyline, especially at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS), more commonly described as the three buildings with a surfboard on top. Although MBS is indeed an architectural masterpiece, the slightly less flashy Singaporean shophouses are equally as magnificent.
A glimpse of history and reminiscence, shophouses are historical buildings in Singapore (and a few other Southeast Asian cities). Shophouses are “narrow, small terraced” buildings with a “sheltered ‘five-foot’ pedestrian way at the front” and commonly two to three stories high. Used for both residential and commercial purposes, this building type was constructed between the 1840s and the 1960s, forming the “majority of the pre-WW2 urban fabric of the old city center.”
The original shophouses in Singapore can be credited to the early group of immigrants from China, mainly from the Fujian and Guangdong provinces (the mid-1840s). They were built along South Bridge and New Bridge Road, just South of the Singapore River (for trade purposes). Over the years, these original shophouses have undergone immense changes, each shophouse period drawing influence from different groups, cultures, languages, and styles. From the minimalism of the Early Shophouse Style (1840-1900) to the vibrancy of the Late Shophouse Style (1900-1940), shophouses today are a living proof of Singapore’s multi-culturalism and adept nature to change. Thanks to Singapore’s conservation efforts, we are able to enjoy these beautiful buildings in 2018. Check out a variety of amazing shophouses today in these neighborhoods: Katong, Chinatown, Tanjong Pagar, and Emerald Hill.
Historically, the ground floor of the shophouse was most commonly used for commercial purposes, while the top was the residential area for the owner. In modern Singapore, the ground floor mainly houses retail shops, restaurants, and bars. The second and third floors are mostly RE-tooled as office space. With the explosion of flexible offices in the past five years, many companies convert shophouses into a trendy, efficient office space fit for a cozier feel.
The majority of shophouses are built street-front with plenty of windows, meaning that your workdays will be filled with natural light. Additionally, many shophouse offices are shared among multiple businesses, meaning you are bound to create your own community eco-system within the walls of Singapore’s history. That being said, the vertical architecture of shophouses promotes just the right feel of privacy, making room for the necessary head-down focus your business needs. Another plus is that many shophouses have outside areas towards the back of the building. For offices, this is often converted into an open-air pantry or garden area (perfect if you’re craving a fresh-air filled work session).
Need a new office in 2018? Check out our new shophouse listings. Some are fully renovated and complete with sit-stand desks, arcade games, reception, etc. Others are in bare condition, ready to be designed to showcase your company in its own style. Get in touch with a space expert today at +65 3163 6839 or [email protected]
A hidden gem in Telok Ayer:
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