The Singapore Shophouse
The Singapore Shophouse is an urban building developed over nearly 200 years. It has multiple functions, including residential, commercial or mixed use. Traditionally, the ground floor of a Singapore shophouse is used as a business premise. These businesses are often the family business. On the floors above, you can find the accommodation or homes of the owner. The Singapore shophouses not only provided a place for work and rest. Most of all, it provides for convenience, shelter and security to the owners.
Unique features of the Singapore Shophouse
Typically, the Singapore shophouses exist in rows or terraces, with an interconnecting five-foot way at the front. They are usually two or three storeys high, with a narrow front and deep rear. On the top of the shophouses are a double-pitched roof and gable. Gables showcased a wide variety of cultural influences and designs, acting as decorative elements to the Singapore shophouses.
The basic masonry and wood construction includes timber, stone, clay and lime. In the hot and humid tropical climate of Singapore, it is typical to have air vents and air wells as part of the Singapore shophouses. The door panels and windows have louvred shutters, this further provides for natural ventilation. Other green measures include ventilation grilles and partitions to promote air movement.
Styles of the Singapore Shophouses
There are six main styles in the Singapore Shophouses. Each style coincides with a particular period, reflecting the technologies and building techniques of each period. In addition, cultural and global influences also played a part in contributing to the uniqueness of each Singapore shophouse. These influences are a fusion of Malay, India, China and European origins.
The Singapore Shophouses are everywhere. Join Singapore Tour Guide, Janice, on The Singapore Shophouse Tour as she takes you through the neighbourhoods such as Spottiswoode, Bukit Pasoh or ethnic quarters such as Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam.