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Shophouse design in Singapore: All you need to know

Early Style shophouses, such as those found along Kampong Bahru Road, have a simple design with single-window openings on the second-storey façade. The Transitional and Late Style terrace houses found along Blair Road have an eclectic mixture of Chinese, Malay and European design elements. Some Art Deco and modern styles are found along Kampong Bahru Road and Everton Road.

Find out more about the history and background behind the unique architecture of Singapore’s shophouses 

Chinese influences on the building styles are represented by interior courtyards, the round gable ends of the pitch roofs, bat-wing-shaped air vents above the first-storey windows, and colourful ceramic-chip friezes depicting dragons, phoenixes and flowers. The Malay influence is identified by the timber fretwork of the roof eaves, fascia boards and balustrades; while European influences are dominant in the fanlights, French windows, Portuguese shuttered windows, and panelled front door and door gate. The Colonial influence is seen in the Corinthian pilasters on the upper storeys.

The Baba House at 157 Neil Road was once the ancestral home of a Straits Chinese family, and is now a heritage house open by appointment to those who want to research Straits Chinese history and culture. Another house of note is 66 Spottiswoode Park Road. The original façade features a rich Chinese fresco of simulated brick, calligraphy and rectangular panels of traditional bird and flower paintings. It was uncovered during restoration works and is currently the only known example of this sort of 19th-century decoration to have survived intact.           

Information courtesy of the Urban Redevelopment Authority

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