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Night at the Monuments A publication bringing you to the monuments of Singapore at its finest — nightfall.


Night at the Monuments | Contents | Page 4

This publication was commissioned by the National Heritage Board and is aimed at promoting greater awareness and appreciation of Singapore’s architectural heritage. Through this publication, readers will be led through various, selected monuments of Singapore that will cause them to possibly be in awe of the unique architectural elements and different purposes of these monuments through time. We have specifically selected these monuments amongst the others for working adults to unwind after a day or weeks’ work at these monuments. As such, they will truly experience the ambience and the rich history of these monuments for themselves and bask in it.


06 Raffles Hotel 12 Chijmes 18 Lau Pa Sat 24 Asian Civilisations Museum 30 MICA Building 36 Bibliography


Night at the Monuments | Raffles Hotel | Page 6


Raffles Hotel

R

affles Hotel began as Beach House, a private home built in the early 1830s by Robert Scott, a descendant of Sir Walter Scott. In 1878, Dr Charles Emmerson leased the building and opened Emmerson’s Hotel. After his sudden death in 1883, the hotel closed and the Raffles Boarding School took up tenancy until its expiry in September 1887. The Armenian Sarkies brothers, Tigran, Aviet and Arshak, already established hoteliers at the time, then leased Beach House from its owner, the wealthy Arab merchant Syed Mohamed Alsagoff, and announced their intention to turn it into a hotel offering fine accommodation and cuisine from all over the world.

Origins and Early Beginnings

Thus on 1 December 1887, Raffles Hotel commenced operations as a 10-room hotel. While the facilities in its early years were still under development, its prime sea-front location near town made it very popular with European residents and travellers. Today, the Raffles is a celebrity with books written about her, and devoted fans from near and far. To former British civil servants and military men who choose to live out their lives in Singapore, the Raffles has a glory and a melancholy such as only the exiled heart knows.


Night at the Monuments | Raffles Hotel | Page 8

Raffles Hotel is a Singapore landmark and monument located at 1 Beach Road. Established in 1887, the colonial-era hotel with a rich history is well known for its period architecture and décor, luxurious accommodation and fine cuisine, and has won numerous accolades over the years. The Raffles, as it developed, was instinct with Britishness. The hotel catered to the rituals and victuals of colonial life, such as Tiffin, tea dance and the cocktail hour. Today, the Raffles is a celebrity with books written about her, and devoted fans from near and far. Raffles Hotel was gazetted as a national monument on 4 March 1987. In 1989, the hotel closed for large-scale restoration that lasted two years and reopened on 16 September 1991. A new block was also added that housed an in-house museum, a shopping arcade, and the Jubilee Theatre, a reproduction of a nineteenth-century playhouse. The hotel was re-gazetted as a national monument on 3 June 1995. The museum was created after a well-orchestrated heritage search by a public relations consultant. People from all over the world returned items and memorabilia of their stay at the ‘grand lady of the Far East’; photographs, silver and china items, postcards and menus as well as old and rare editions of the works of the famous writers who stayed there. These items are displayed in the museum along with photographs of its famous guests and visitors around the globe.


First from top: Raffles Courtyard Second from top: Residential block for guests


Night at the Monuments | Raffles Hotel | Page 10

Diners at Raffles in the 1960s

The Tiffin Room

Ah Teng’s Bakery


The Colonial fare at Raffles

The Main Building of the hotel was designed by R. A. J. Bidwell of the architecture firm Swan & Maclaren and built on the site of the original Beach House. Completed in 1899, it was considered state-of-the-art at the time. Designed with tropical architectural features such as high ceilings and extensive verandahs, the Main Building also included modern conveniences like powered ceiling fans and electric lights, a first for any hotel in the region.

The war and post-war years

The 1942 Japanese invasion prompted Raffles staff to bury the hotel silverware, including the silver beef trolley, in the Palm Court. The Japanese renamed the hotel Syonan Ryokan or Light of the South Hotel, and its main entrance was moved to face east to catch the morning sun. The hotel was appointed the quarters for senior Japanese military officers.

After the Japanese surrender, M. S. Arathoon, whom the Japanese had retained as assistant manager, re-opened the hotel in September 1945. Many of the local staff had remained with the hotel during the war years, and other displaced staff returned. The silverware was duly retrieved from its hiding place. The hotel became a temporary transit camp for prisoners of war who were to be repatriated. During the 1950s and 1960s, the hotel faced new challenges due to changing political, economic and social circumstances. With the withdrawal of the British colonial administration, the Singapore government actively promoted tourism to earn revenue. Raffles Hotel became a tourist attraction because of its reputation as a historic hotel and encountered competition from more modern hotels that had sprung up along Orchard Road. In April 2010, Raffles Hotel was acquired by Qatar Diar, the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar. The following month, Raffles Hotel received Ultratravel magazine’s prestigious Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Award for Best Hotel In Asia/Australia for the fourth consecutive year. The Writers Bar is named for the numerous literary figures that have visited the hotel, among others Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling and Noel Coward. There are suites named after early hotel guests such as Charlie Chaplin and Somerset Maugham, who is reputed to have spent his days writing at the Palm Court.


Night at the Monuments | Chijmes | Page 12

Experience Chijmes’ Romantic Charms

The centrepiece of the CHIJMES complex is the Gothic chapel with its flanking linkways. Renamed CHIJMES Hall, the building’s exterior features flying buttresses and a five-storey spire. Carved letters on the chapel facade stand for Iesu Homine Salvator (Latin for “Jesus, Saviour of the World”). Each of the 648 columns of the building and linkways feature unique, intricate carvings of tropical birds and plants. The chapel’s interior features delicate stained glass windows that were produced in Bruges, Belgium by Jules Dobbelaere, considered the finest stained glass craftsman in late 19thcentury Europe. The glass panels depict scenes from the Bible as well as the 12 apostles. Below a cross-vaulted ceiling, the floor of the chapel is laid with multi-coloured terrazzo tiles. The chapel originally contained wooden pews that were specifically imported from Toulouse, France.


Bottom: Panorama view of Chijmes First Right: Inside the chapel Second Right: Overview of dining halls in Chijmes


Night at the Monuments | Chijmes | Page 14

The complex was gazetted as a national monument on 26 October 1990.

Chijmes at nightfall

CHIJMES was originally known as the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), a premier girls’ school established in 1854 by an order of French Catholic nuns. Originally located on a self-contained city block bound by Victoria Street, Bras Basah Road, North Bridge Road and Stamford Road, the site formerly included the English-language primary and secondary schools, a Chinese-medium school, called St Nicholas Girls’ School, an orphanage, the nun’s quarters, and the chapel. In 1983, the primary and secondary schools relocated to their current premises at 626 and 628 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh

respectively. The site was redeveloped and partially demolished to build the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC) headquarters. The remaining complex includes Caldwell House, the chapel now known as CHIJMES Hall, and the orphanage building, and now houses a number of retail and food as well as beverage outlets.


Establishment and development of CHIJ In 1851, Father Jean-Marie Beurel, priest of the Good Shepherd Church, was sent to Paris to recruit teachers on behalf of the Apostolic Vicar of Malaya. He approached the Institute of the Charitable Schools of the Holy Infant Jesus of St Maur, an order of well-educated and socially conscious nuns. In October 1852, the order sent a group of nuns, led by Rev. Mother Mathilde Raclot, to Penang, where they established the first Infant Jesus school in Asia.

The following year, the convent acquired the house adjacent to Caldwell House. This became an orphanage for children who were unwanted or from poor or broken homes. Single mothers or women who could not afford to keep their babies often left them at the orphanage’s side gate, which came to be known as the “Baby Gate” and the “Gate of Hope”. Such abandoned children were often female, Chinese, and suffering from poor health. Those that survived learned vocational and domestic skills and received a free education at the school.

Over the following years, the convent steadily acquired adjacent plots of land that became part of the growing convent complex. In 1860, the convent bought land that had belonged to Raffles Institution. In 1892, aided by contributions from the government and wealthy benefactors, a boarding house was built on the Stamford Road side of the complex.


Night at the Monuments | Chijmes | Page 16

The development of Chijmes

By the 1890s, the simple chapel that had been constructed in 1855 had become insufficient for the expanding school and orphanage. In 1898, a new Gothic chapel was designed by Father Charles Benedict Nain, a priest from the Church of St Peter and St Paul and a trained architect who also designed the distinctive wings of St Joseph’s Institution. The chapel was completed in 1903 and consecrated on 11 June 1904. Classes started for Chinese-speaking girls at four bungalows rented from Hotel Van Wijk (also known as Hotel Van Dyke), adjacent to the convent site. In October 1931, the convent bought the hotel and demolished it. A new block of classrooms was built in 1933, that became Victoria Girls’ School, later St Nicholas Girls’.

By the early 1970s, the government was considering this in tandem with plans to develop a mass transport system. All these plans earmarked the large convent site for redevelopment. The government eventually acquired the land from the convent in 1983, and the schools were allocated a new site in Toa Payoh.

demolished in 1984 to build the MRTC headquarters. To preserve the ambience of the remaining buildings, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) gazetted Caldwell House and the chapel as national monuments in 1990, and designated the entire complex a conservation area with high restoration standards and strict usage guidelines.

On 3 November 1983, mass was held in the chapel for the last time, after which it was deconsecrated for non-religious use. By December, the primary and secondary schools had vacated the Victoria Street site and moved to their new premises in Toa Payoh, where they began operations the following year.

The buildings underwent extensive restoration works before the complex reopened in 1996 as CHIJMES. Pronounced “chimes”, the name incorporates the initials of the original school and echoes its history as the site of a chapel and schools.

At the original convent site, the secondary school building was


Night at the Monuments | Asian Civilisation Museum| Page 18

Asian Civilisation Museum The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is the first museum in the region to present a broad yet integrated perspective of pan-Asian cultures and civilisations. As one of the National Museums of Singapore under the National Heritage Board, they seek to promote a better appreciation of the rich cultures that make up Singapore’s multi-ethnic society.

A close-up image of a section of one of the Asian Civilisation Museum’s walkways.


Night at the Monuments | Asian Civilisation Museum | Page 20

History The Empress Place Building is one of the architectural treasures in the Empress Place civic area overlooking the Singapore River. It was built in 1864-65 as a courthouse but was instead used as government offices until the late 1980s. Subsequent restorations and extensions have stayed faithful to the original neo-classical Palladian architectural style. Gazetted as a national monument on 14 February 1992, it is currently the Asian Civilisations Museum. The building was designed by John Frederick Adolphus McNair, the architect who designed the Government House (presently the Istana). Built by convict labour, it was designated to be the new Court House. But in 1865, the Government Secretariat became the new building’s first occupant. Its name was changed to Empress Place Building in 1907 when the Municipal Council renamed the adjacent pedestrian space to commemorate Queen Victoria’s visit to Singapore. Empress Place is now one of Singapore’s oldest pedestrian spaces. The building continued to be used by various government offices after Singapore attained self-government in 1959. These included the Immigration Department, the Registry of Births and Deaths, and the Singapore Citizenship Registry. In the late 1980s, the offices moved out when the Empress Place Building was earmarked for restoration as part of the Civic and Cultural District project. After a 14-month renovation, the building re-opened on 7 April 1989 as an art museum called the Empress Place Museum. Its first exhibition was on the furniture and artifacts of the Qing Dynasty.


The Face-Lifts

During restoration works in the late 1980s, contractors unearthed parts of the original foundation and an iron ring that was used to tie up horses, and the nine layers of paint applied over the decades were found to have concealed some carved details. Another major round of renovations took place when it was being converted into the second wing of the ACM. The conversion efforts were completed in 2001, and the restored building won the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s 2003 Architectural Heritage Award. The Empress Place Museum with its showcase of major Chinese dynasties did not attract the following that it needed to stay afloat and closed in 1995. The National Heritage Board then took over the building to make it part of the ACM. In March 1998, the Public Works Department began a major undertaking to restore and extend the building. The Empress Place Building reopened as the second wing of the ACM in March 2003. The first wing was located at Armenian Street. Although the white two-storey building has undergone a series of renovations and extensions to increase its size, its original neo-classical Palladian architectural style has been retained.


Night at the Monuments | Asian Civilisation Museum | Page 22


Located at the mouth of the Singapore River, the Empress Place Building’s imposing NeoPalladian exterior with timber-louvred windows and pitched clay tile roofs caught the attention of immigrants and visitors sailing into Singapore harbour. A 1905 Singapore guidebook describes Government Offices and its neighbouring buildings thus: “Apart from the cities of India, there is, perhaps, no place in the East which boasts such a handsome group of [government] buildings as viewed from the sea.”

After visiting the various exhibitons and events at the ACM, one can look forward to spending the rest of the night at a place within short distance of the museum - Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay houses various restaurants and pubs, it is no surprise that it is known as the hub of Singapore’s nightlife.

Inside, the rooms are stately, with high ceilings, handsome Doric columns and exquisite plaster mouldings and cornices. Elegantly proportioned, the building is laid out symmetrically along a central axis. Left: The ACM along with other colonial buildings in the 20th Century. Below: A detailed final sketch of the monument before construction


Night at the Monuments | Lau Pa Sat | Page 24


Lau Pa Sat Lau Pa Sat (or “old market” in the Hokkien dialect) was Singapore’s first wet market that dates back over 150 years ago to the time of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. It was subsequently converted into a famous gourmet paradise and has been gazetted as a national monument since 1973.


Night at the Monuments | Lau Pa Sat | Page 26


Left: Lau Pa Sat in the early 2000s. Top: Lau Pa Sat in the 1950s.

The first market in Singapore was located on the south bank of the Singapore River. The land there was soon required for commercial use, and Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles ordered the market to be moved to Telok Ayer. This area was then along the seafront, and a market on piles over the sea, was built by 1824. Its trademark octagonal design was set as early as the 1820s when it was just a timber-and-attap fish market set at the water’s edge. It was rebuilt on the reclaimed Telok Ayer Basin at the turn of the century, the new version recapturing the framework design in a Victorian style. It was the first market built by the Municipal Commission and one of the first structures in Asia made of prefabricated cast-iron. The filigreed cast and wrought iron were imported from Glasgow.

As part of the renovations undertaken in the 1990s by Renaissance Properties of the Scotts Group, the market acquired new features such as chimes ringing out local tunes. The 23 bronze Dutch carillons were rung by a jacquemart, or a mechanical figurine. The 1.25m-high doll, dressed like a Chinese coolie, would simulate the ringing movements activating the various Chinese, Malay and Indian melodies. At the centre of the market was a sunken fountain with tiled flooring that could double up as a stage for performances. The fountain was reminiscent of a cast-iron fountain which marked the centre of the 1890 market but was relocated in 1920 and rediscovered only in 1989; it stands now in Raffles Hotel’s Palm Garden.


Night at the Monuments | Lau Pa Sat | Page 28

1822 S  ir Stamford Raffles commissioned its construction as “the emporium of the east”. Colonel Farquhar decided on its location.

1972 A  s commercial activity around it made a wet market redundant, it was renovated and turned into a food centre.

1825 I ts trademark octagonal shape was first built at a cost of $4,000. The construction of the 24m by 9m structure was believed to have been financed by a merchant, Tan Che San (also known as Inche Sang), who consequently had tax-free use of the premises for a few years.

1973 The market was gazetted as a national monument.

1833 T  he market was rebuilt under the auspices of G. D. Coleman because the original structure was considered unsafe. 1879 T  he market was demolished as a result of the land reclamation project at Telok Ayer Basin. 1890 C  onstruction of a new Telok Ayer Market commenced, it echoed the octagonal shape of the original market. 1909 T  he Municipality took control of the market from the farm system and it continued to function as a wet market.

1989 I t was renamed Lau Pa Sat following a S$6.8-million renovation by the Singapore Tourism Board. 1990 I t was leased to Renaissance Properties to be converted into a “festival market”. 1992 A  fter a S$10-million refurbishment by Japanese contractors Kumagai Gumi, it was re-opened as the Telok Ayer Festival Market, a food-cum-entertainment complex. 1995 S  TPB gave lease rights to the Kopi Tiam Group for a period of 24 years. 1996 T  he market was re-opened as a 24-hour food court after Kopi Tiam had invested another S$4 million.


Night at the Monuments | MICA Building | Page 30

MICA Building The MICA Building, otherwise known as the Old Hill Street Police Station (OHSPS), was erected in 1934 to house the Hill Street Police Station and Barracks. It was gazetted as a national monument in 1998 and transformed into comfortable and lively premises for MICA. MICA moved from PSA Building to MICA Building in 2000. The building also houses the Singapore Kindness Movement.


The building has a total of 927 windows and they are painted in the colours of the rainbow. Passersby will notice that the windows on the first four stories have the same vibrant intensity while the colours for the fifth and sixth story gradually intensify to accentuate the cantilevered balconies which are interesting architectural features of this historical building along Hill Street.

Originally built as a police station, the building was the largest government building and regarded as a modern skyscraper at the time of its completion in the year 1934. The steep slopes of Fort Canning had to be cut back and shored up, to provide vehicular access to the back entrance of the building.


Night at the Monuments | MICA Buildingl | Page 32

On 18 December 1998, the Old Hill Street Police Station building was gazetted as a national monument by the Preservation of Monuments Board under the National Heritage Board. The Old Hill Street Police Station and Barracks was officially re-opened as the new headquarters for the Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA) by Lee Yock Suan, then Minister for Information and the Arts, on 1 November 2000.


Top Left: Angled view of the MICA Building First Bottom Left: View of the MICA Building across the street Second Bottom Left: Inside the MICA Building ­— art galleries Above: The colourful, vibrant colours of the MICA Building’s windows


Key Features of the MICA Building

Night at the Monuments | MICA Building | Page 34


It is a six-storey building covering a total floor area of 25,000 sq m with two internal courtyards. The building was built in a typical neo-classical style that characterised many public buildings in England during the 1930s. Its façade is symmetrically designed, furnished with balconies, arcades, columns and rough surface masonry blocks. The building is structured into long thin blocks that surround two internal courtyards. Outwards, the view from each room faces the streets and inwards, the courtyards. A total of S$89.1 million was spent renovating the building before its relaunch in 2000 to house MITA and its various departments. Its windows are now painted in shades of rainbow colours. Located on the ground floor are art galleries, sculptures, cafÊ, and a space for visual art exhibitions and performance art which is sheltered by 29 m high glass roof. In 2001, the Ministry of Information and the Arts was renamed the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts when the Infocomm technology (ICT) ) function (under

then-Ministry of Communications and Information Technology) came under it. However, the ministry retained the acronym MITA. It was only in 2004 that the ministry changed its acronym to MICA and renamed the building MICA Building.


Night at the Monuments | | Page 36

Bibliography

Raffles Hotel

Asian Civilisation Museum

http://www.raffles.com/singapore/

Publication: Edwin Lee’s Historic Buildings of Singapore (1990)

http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_37_2005-0105.html Publication: Gretchen Liu’s In Granite and

Publication: Gretchen Liu’s In Granite and Chunam (1997)

Chunam (1997)

http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_1132_2006-0405.html

Chijmes

Lau Pa Sat

Publication: Edwin Lee’s Historic Buildings of Singapore (1990)

Publication: Edwin Lee’s Historic Buildings of Singapore (1990)

Publication: Gretchen Liu’s In Granite and Chunam (1997)

Publication: Gretchen Liu’s In Granite and Chunam (1997)

http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_828_2004-1215.html

http://www.laupasat.biz/lps.html http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_810_2005-0111.html

MICA Building http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_727_200501-13.html http://app.mica.gov.sg/Default.aspx?tabid=64


Night at the Monuments  

This was a final assignment for my Publication Design module. We were tasked with creating a publication to showcase Singapore's monuments....

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