Singapore

Century-old shophouse wins URA’s conservation award

The sensitive restoration of a century-old shophouse, near MacDonald House in Orchard Road, picked up one of the island's most prestigious conservation awards at the annual Architectural Heritage Awards yesterday.

Called Temasek Shophouse, the building, which used to be a townhouse with apartments and shops, was the sole winner of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) award for restoration.

URA, which has been administering the award since 1995, said the building's original ornamentation and missing features were carefully restored, returning it as close as possible to its original form.

For instance, false ceilings at its five-foot-way were removed, drawing attention to its original double-height columns. Inside, a two-storey atrium now stands in the place of bulky escalators from the 1980s, introducing a new sense of spaciousness to the building, it said.

The 18-month restoration of the state property had been undertaken by lessee Temasek Trustees and architect Surbana Jurong Consultants.

The site is home to Temasek's philanthropy arm and has space for its co-working partners, as well as a public arena on the ground level.

The award was announced by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, at an event that also marked URA's 30-year conservation journey.

In his speech, Mr Lee noted that the authorities have taken a more inclusive and consultative approach to co-create and sustain Singapore's built heritage landscape.

He also recognised the efforts of URA's conservation partners such as public agency, the Singapore Tourism Board, and organisations such as the Singapore Heritage Society.

He said: "We will continue to engage and collaborate deeply with the industry, community, and all Singaporeans to protect, sustain and enliven our built heritage for the next 30 years, and many more generations to come."

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