Singapore's Art Deco Architecture In 6 Buildings

Art Deco exterior | © Francesca Saracao/Unsplash
Art Deco exterior | © Francesca Saracao/Unsplash
Photo of Prianka Ghosh
30 September 2016

The architectural style of Art Deco is recognizable by its streamlined aesthetic; influenced by aircraft, ships and racing cars, the style uses a lot of portholes as well as a mix of curved and straight lines. In Singapore, this style began to appear after World War I and later morphed into the Streamline Moderne style, which is essentially the Post-Art Deco movement. Here are six buildings in Singapore that beautifully showcase this Art Deco aesthetic.

Tiong Bahru Housing Development Board Blocks

The Tiong Bahru flats were the first public housing estate in Singapore when they were built in the 1930s by the now-defunct Singapore Improvement Trust. Unlike later HDB blocks, it is clear that a significant amount of effort went into the design of these aesthetically pleasing homes, that feature elements of both Streamline Moderne and Straits Settlements architecture with elements such as rounded balconies, flat rooftops and spiral staircases.

Tiong Bahru block, 26 Tiong Bahru Rd, 26, Singapore

© Dickson Phua/Flickr

Tiong Bahru HDB blocks | © Dickson Phua/Flickr

© Jonathan Lin/Flickr

Tiong Bahru HDB blocks | © Jonathan Lin/Flickr

© Payton Chung/Flickr

Tiong Bahru HDB blocks | © Payton Chung/Flickr

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Once Singapore’s rail link to Malaysia and the rest of the world, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station ceased operations in 2011. Currently the site is closed, although it will be reopened in 2018 with slight renovations as the Cantonment MRT station.

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, 30 Keppel Rd, Singapore

© shankar s./Flickr

Ticket office at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station | © shankar s./Flickr

© Lionel Leong/Flickr

Interior of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station | © Lionel Leong/Flickr

© Walter Lim/Flickr

Entrance to the Panjong Pagar Railway Station | © Walter Lim/Flickr

Parkview Square

Bridge, Building
Map View
The Gotham City Building as locals affectionately call Parkview Square
The Gotham City Building as locals affectionately call Parkview Square | © Fechi Fajardo/Flickr / The interior of Parkview Square | © Deckuf/Flickr
Parkview Square – the imposing building that is nevertheless affectionately referred to as the Gotham City Building – was actually built in 2002, however, the architects were heavily influenced by the Art Deco style. Although the offices in the tower have modern amenities, the decor, as can be seen in the building’s lounge, also follows a gorgeous Art Deco motif.
The fact is, there are many Art Deco and Art Deco-influenced buildings in Singapore. One of the easiest ways to identify them is from their exterior, as one of the traits of Art Deco in Singapore at the time was to print the year of construction on the building’s facade. Geyland is the best neighborhood for Art Deco spotting, but Bugis and its surrounding areas often have many buildings that follow this striking yet elegant style.

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