Monday, May 12, 2008

Tiong Bahru Housing Estate

Some weeks ago, I was assigned by River Valley Primary School to do my "parents' volunteer" thingy at their school library.

While "shelving" the books, I came across this book.

I wished I could hide myself in a corner and read all these books but I cannot let my son down.

So the next best thing was to take my phone out and snap some quick pictures for future reference.

Here's the reproduction of the article:

The Singapore Improvement Trust was officially formed in 1927 and continued until 1959 when the Housing and Development Board was established.

The flats in this estate were built between 1936 and 1954.

The buildings are set within generous and well planned public open spaces and, as such, represent one of the most successful community developments in Singapore. The 3- and 4- storey flats are reminiscent of much European public residential architecture of the time, with their simple, clear facades and well proportioned stairs and windows.

The estate contains a mixture of 1- to 5-room dwelling units. shophouses, lock-up shops and garages; a total of 2243 units.

The most extensive building programme was in 1950 when 460 units and 66 lock-up shops were erected.

The 4-storey buildings in Boon Tiong Road (and the “Red Flats” in Tiong Bahru Road, attributed to Lincoln Page, Senior Architect, were built from 1948 to 1950.Those in Kim Poh (sic) Road were designed by Robert F.N. Kan; other buildings (1940) are attributed to A.G. Church (Could this be the guy who designed the Pre-War Section?). Curved forms are used freely in the best 1930s manner.

The 4 Storey Flats along Boon Tiong
(Now known as Global Residences at Tiong Bahru)
Designed by S.I.T. Senior Architect : Lincoln Page

The Post War 4 Storey Flats in Tiong Bahru Estate

Probably designed by S.I.T. Senior Architect : Lincoln Page

The Red Flats (Now known as the Link Hotel)
Designed by S.I.T. Senior Architect : Lincoln Page

Flats along Kim Pog Road (Demolished)
Designed by S.I.T. Architect : Robert F.N. Kan

Other street which contain some very good buildings are Eng Hoon Street, Seng Poh Lane, Eng Watt Street and Guan Chuan Street. Seng Poh Lane and Seng Poh Road are named after Tan Seng Poh, who was born in Perak c. 1930 and became a City Councillor in 1870.

Eng Hoon Street is part of the Tiong Bahru Housing Estate and, like its neighbours, is a straightforward solution to the housing needs of the day; therein lies its importance, architecturally and socially.

It is obvious that, even today, this estate accommodates the diverse demands of the local population and functions well as a human settlement. It also responds well to the equatorial climate.

Between Tiong Poh Road and Seng Poh Road is a large public open space onto which the houses back; this contains a playground (converted into a carpark) and some shops and restaurants.

The excellent market, the bird singing contest and the small, old Chinese temple (We Tin Beo, reputedly over 150 years old) all contribute to the success of this fine community development.

Tiong Bahru Regional Park is situated between Tiong Bahru, Henderson and Delta Roads adjacent to the Tiong Bahru Secondary School. It is one of older parks in Singapore (built by the Parks & Recreation Department in 1968) and today serves the recreational needs of the expanding population of the Tiong Bahru area.

The park is planted with Casuarina equisetifolia, Fagraea crenulata and Megaskepasma erythrochlamys and many varieties of Bougainvillea; it also has a small pond, seats ad swings.

Tiong Bahru means New Cemetery; Tiong is Chinese for cemetery and Bahru is Malay for new.

1 comment:

SGalf said...

Sam (U know who you are),

This post was inspired by your question some time ago. You asked me who the Tiong Bahru architects were and did they designed any ICONIC buildings subsequently.

I'm not too sure YET. I've tried to google and only Robert F.N. Kan showed up.

I will continue to find out more information.

Thru my search, I also found out the Boys' Brigade in Singapore could be founded by the chief of Singapore’s colonial-period re-housing agency, The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT).

Both of them shared the same name, J.M. Fraser and The BB was founded in 1930, during the period When JM Fraser was chief of the SIT.

I was rather active with the Boys' Brigade during my primary and secondary school days and this discovery excites me.

I may called up the BB HQ to find out...or dig deeper at the library....if I have the time.