The district of Tanjong Pagar, fanning out south of Chinatown between Neil and Maxwell roads, was once a veritable sewer of brothels and opium dens. Then it was earmarked for regeneration as a conservation area, following which dozens of shophouses were painstakingly restored and converted into bars, restaurants and shops, notably on Neil Road and Duxton Hill just south of it. A grander example of the area’s architecture can be found right where South Bridge Road flows into Neil and Tanjong Pagar roads: here you’ll easily spot the arches and bricked facade of the Jinrikisha Building, constructed at the turn of the last century as a terminus for rickshaws. They were superseded by trishaws after World War II, and today the building serves as office space – with a celebrity landlord, the Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan.
Tanjong Pagar’s main sight is the Baba House, though as an architectural attention-grabber it’s rivalled by the seven interlinked towers of the Pinnacle@Duxton, a showpiece public housing development that offers fine views over much of Singapore.Read More
The Baba House
The Baba HouseThe Baba House is one of Singapore’s most impressive museums, because it is and isn’t a museum: what you see is a Peranakan house from the turn of the last century, meticulously restored to its appearance in the late 1920s, a particularly prosperous time in its history.
The house is easily spotted as it’s painted a vivid blue. Note the phoenixes and peonies on the eaves above the entrance, signifying longevity and wealth and, together, marital bliss. Even more eye-catching is the pintu pagar, the pair of swing doors with beautiful gilt and mother-of-pearl inlays.