Red Dot Traffic building no longer red; will be restored to original off-white hue as part of $25 million restoration

The Red Dot Traffic Building in Tanjong Pagar.
The Red Dot Traffic Building in Tanjong Pagar.ST PHOTO: MELODY ZACCHEUS

SINGAPORE - The fiery red hue of the Red Dot Traffic Building in Tanjong Pagar will be a thing of the past soon.

The Ministry of Law, which is taking over the 1928 conservation building at 28 Maxwell Road, will be restoring it to its original off-white colour in May.

The building, which currently houses the Red Dot Design Museum, and other tenants, had re-opened in 2005 in a striking red hue.

The lease of The Traffic, the building manager, expires on April 30.

Heritage conservation expert Ho Weng Hin of Studio Lapis, who was appointed for the project, said the neutral colour will help showcase the building's "original splendour" such as the ornamental plasterwork of its pediments and floral patterns on its facade.

Award-winning architect Mok Wei Wei, who is leading the restoration effort, said the neutral colour will also blend in seamlessly with Maxwell Chambers, Singapore's international arbitration centre, next door at 32 Maxwell Road.

Mr Mok is behind projects such as the refurbishment of the National Museum of Singapore, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, and the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Details of the $25 million restoration were unveiled on Friday morning to the media.

The ministry took over the structure as part of expansion plans for Maxwell Chambers to meet growing demand and boost Singapore's position as an international dispute centre.

The Red Dot building originally served as barracks for the Police Force and later housed the Singapore Traffic Police Headquarters for more than 70 years until 1999.

The restoration will include restoring the building's timbre louver windows, repairing the cast-iron rainwater downpipes and gutters from Walter MacFarlane and Co of Glasgow Scotland, and reinstating the courtyards to their original open-to-sky design.

A new annexe building and a link bridge connecting 28 and 32 Maxwell Road will be constructed as well.

The restored building will house about 50 new offices for international dispute resolution institutions, arbitration chambers, law firms and ancillary legal services, over four floors.

The ministry said the complex will support the growth of dispute resolution institutions here, which have seen a significant increase in their caseload.

Last year, 212 arbitration cases were heard at Maxwell Chambers, an 18 per cent increase over the 179 cases in 2015.

The restoration project is expected to be completed in early 2019.