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Palmer House – Singapore – Why It’s Important to Save

Posted: March 8th, 2016 | No Comments »

The news that Palmer House in Singapore may be partially or wholly destroyed to build a MTR station is worrying. The former YMCA Metropolitan building, originally built in 1954, was sold in the late 1990s and renamed Palmer House. It is an excellent example of Streamline Moderne, a minimalistic architectural style that abandoned the sometime lavish and ostentatious decoration of the Art Deco movement in favour of simple, functional lines. Streamline Moderne is one of Singapore’s remaining architectural styles and perhaps the best Asian city for this type of architecture, any serious stroll around the city will see examples of it (though some have been destroyed). It is very important that Singapore recognise that heritage and keep it and not just deride it as post-war and not historic….

Singapore still retains a good crop of Streamline Moderne buildings that, together, offer an almost unique look at this architectural style – any lover of art deco should appreciate it as the later period and seeks its preservation…the examples below are a few favourites, but not in any way an exhaustive list…just punch “Streamline Moderne Singapore” into google image and you’ll find plenty more…


Tiong Bahru flats developed prior to WW2 – the blocks along Guan Chuan Street and Chay Yan Streets were nicknamed the “Aeroplane blocks”.

cover-tiong-bahru-talesBlock 78 was known as Tiong Bahru Gor Lau (“5-story flat” in Hokkien). It was the highest public housing in Singapore when built in the late 1930s.

394069_10150476982056139_665181138_8777071_513936808_ntraditional shophouse culture meets Streamline Moderne in Tiong Bahru

indexand the threatened Palmer House

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