Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Heritage Architecture in Singapore: Joo Chiat Retail Shophouses

Joo Chiat Retail Shophouses
Information: Joo Chiat Community Website

I love historical architecture so when I was in Singapore last year I really went out of my way to see the famous shophouses. I knew this is not something my mom would be interested so I asked my dad if he wants to accompany me in my little trip to Joo Chiat. Luckily my dad is convinced that going out would do good for him. You know mobility is part of a good healthy regime.

On a nutshell: Joo Chiat is one of those streets in Singapore that you can find well-preserved and well-maintained row of traditional retail shophouses, also known as Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya houses. They are Singapore's national heritage architecture. The ground floor is usually a store (hence, a shophouse) and upstairs are living quarters, although this vary per property.

Peranakan or Baba-Nyonyas are 15th - 17th century Chinese immigrants who left China for the Malay-Indo archiphelago. They brought with them their food, culture and tradition, as well as their architecture and design principles.

I saw a salon, a bakery, a hardware shop, a restaurant, a little farmer's market, a general merchandise store, even a karaoke bar and more. On this street you can really feel the local vibe, the traditional way of doing business back in the olden days in Singapore.

There is also some sort of shophouse revival going on in the country and these row houses can fetch a handsome sum, starting S$1+ Million.

Clearly with some European influence on the facade details.

You can see a general merchandise store, a store that sells almost everything. See the overflowing items that are already on the pedestrian side street. They were the place to shop before department stores came to existence.

My dad likes to think he is young so he bought those colourful yellow shoes.

I am loving the pastel colours. Very nice touch I think.

Just look at the facade details. Aren't they stunning?

Joo Chiat can also get busy with vehicular traffic. 

If you come here to check out the shophouses, I suggest walking end to end of Joo Chiat Road.

Joo Chiat is located in the eastern coastal part of Singapore and is about a 10-minute cab ride from the city centre or 15-20 minutes with public transportation (bus or metro).

Travel Period: August 2013
Destination: Singapore East, Singapore

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