Red Dot building to lose its red exterior
Expansion of Maxwell Chambers to include repainting and construction of bridge
The fire engine-red facade of the Red Dot Traffic Building will soon be a thing of the past.
It will be returned to its original off-white colour as part of a $25 million restoration project, the Ministry of Law revealed yesterday. That was the colour of the building when it housed the Traffic Police Headquarters from the 1930s to 1999.
The building on 28, Maxwell Road, which houses the Red Dot Design Museum and other tenants, will be taken over by the Law Ministry for the expansion of Maxwell Chambers.
A new annex building and link bridge connecting it to the original Maxwell Chambers on 32, Maxwell Road, will also be constructed.
The extension, which will boost Singapore's position as an international arbitration centre, will triple Maxwell Chambers' current size.
Maxwell Chambers is the world's first integrated dispute resolution centre.
Last year, 212 arbitration cases were heard there.
The building's timber louvre windows, cast-iron rainwater downpipes and gutters from Walter MacFarlane and Co of Glasgow, Scotland, dating back to 1928, will also be restored.
The five courtyards will also be reinstated to their original open-to-sky design.
Our image of this building has been dominated in the last 10 years by its fiery red colour. But it has a much longer history than that.Architect Mok Wei Wei
The Law Ministry said it is still in discussions with the Red Dot Design Museum on future tenancy plans.
The current lease will expire on April 30 and the Law Ministry is targeting completion in 2019, with construction to begin in May this year.
Award-winning architect Mok Wei Wei, who is also behind the refurbishment of the National Museum of Singapore and Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, is spearheading the restoration works.
Mr Mok said: "Our image of this building has been dominated in the last 10 years by its fiery red colour. But it has a much longer history than that.
"A change of colour will reflect a new identity as befits its change of use."
Built in 1928, the building in Tanjong Pagar was first used as barracks for the police force. It then served as the Traffic Police Headquarters until 1999.
In 2005, it was renovated and given its eye-catching red hue when it reopened as the Red Dot Design Museum.
It was gazetted as a Conserved Building by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2007.
Mr Said Nasir, 62, thedivision training officer for the Traffic Police, said he spent 24 years working there but can no longer visualise the old building because it has changed a lot.
"It's good that it is changing back to white, because it was originally white during the time TP was stationed at Maxwell. It brings back old memories," he added.
The Law Ministry also launched the Heritage @ Maxwell programme yesterday, in partnership with the Traffic Police and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
They are looking for people like Mr Said, who have stories or photos of the building.
They can e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and selected photos and stories will line the walls of the new building.
Mr Han Kok Juan, deputy secretary of the Ministry of Law who also chairs the project committee, said: "We want to capture these memories before they are lost, and share them with younger Singaporeans.
"Heritage is what gives the place character."