Eight Jalan Besar shophouses to be conserved

Eight shophouses in Jalan Besar will be put up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for conservation status.

The conservation of these eight units - at 593 Serangoon Road, 458 Race Course Road and 1 to 11 Balestier Road - will complete a cluster of heritage buildings in Serangoon Road, Race Course Road and Tessensohn Road.

Jalan Besar was gazetted as a conservation area in October 1991.

The eight pre-World War II shophouses are predominantly of the "Art Deco" architectural style and reflect the urbanisation of Singapore at that time.

One of the eight, the shophouse at 593 Serangoon Road, has become a landmark with its recognisable curved frontage. It has been home to the Singapore Institute of Science since 1952.

Its proprietor, Mr Teng Tieu Guan, was pleased at the news. His grandparents ran a coffee shop on the ground floor in the 1970s and later bought over the building in the 1980s.

Mr Teng, 49, said: "Having lived here for decades, all of us have a very strong attachment to this area. Keeping our built heritage helps bind the community to the place and conserving this shophouse is what my grandparents had always wanted."

As part of URA's study of the area, three more blocks of Art Deco-style shophouses nearby have been identified and are being studied for possible conservation.

The units - from 278 to 324 Lavender Street - are just opposite a row of already conserved buildings in Jalan Besar.

As part of the public consultation process, feedback is being sought from owners and heritage and community groups.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2018, with the headline 'Eight Jalan Besar shophouses to be conserved'. Subscribe