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Creating community impact through conservation

Six projects conferred the Architectural Heritage Awards for restoration efforts, commitment towards long-term building management and community engagement efforts.
  Published: 04 November 2022

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has conferred this year’s Architectural Heritage Awards (AHA) on six projects that showcased outstanding restoration efforts, commitment towards long-term building management and upkeep, and contribution towards community engagement through our heritage assets. Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, Mr Desmond Lee, presented the awards to four winners and two Special Mentions today.

The projects are:
The Fullerton Heritage
3 Sentosa Gateway, St James Power Station
5 & 7 Gallop Road, Atbara and Inverturret
1 Beach Road, Raffles Hotel
705 Serangoon Road, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital 
292 Joo Chiat Road 

Beyond technical restoration and design

URA started the AHA in 1995 with the aim to increase professional standards and encourage continual capability building within the industry to achieve greater heights in technical restoration for our built heritage. Over the years, public appreciation for our heritage buildings has increased, with greater awareness of the intangible value that these buildings can add to the community. More public programmes and initiatives have also been collectively implemented to promote and sustain the relevance of our heritage assets.

As a reflection of our evolving approach towards conservation, the focus of AHA has been expanded beyond technical restoration to also recognise the intangible outcomes of creating long-term value for the community, as well as the upkeep and management of the building. 

From this year, the expanded and more inclusive AHA also gives recognition to the following:
a) Key contributors and allied professionals, such as M&E engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and material restoration specialists (in addition to building owners, architects, engineers, contractors and conservation specialists whom the AHA already recognises).
b) Past AHA winners which have maintained their developments well for at least 10 years post-award, with a newly introduced Legacy Award.

The project teams of the six projects awarded this year not only demonstrated technical expertise in building restoration and innovative design that enhances their surroundings, but also showcased successful outcomes though a holistic conservation approach that includes research, programming and community engagement to increase the public appreciation and enjoyment of the conserved buildings.

Winners of the 26th Architectural Heritage Awards and Special Mentions

Below is an overview of the projects.

Legacy Award
The Fullerton Heritage
Since the restoration and adaptive reuse of the former Fullerton Building into The Fullerton Hotel more than 20 years ago, its owner has continued to take exemplary care of their other heritage buildings in The Fullerton Heritage precinct, including The Waterboat House, Clifford Pier and Customs House. Beyond restoration, they have demonstrated commitment towards effective site monitoring over the years through the deployment of skilled personnel and by working closely with conservation and restoration specialists. They have also encouraged a corporate culture where staff members play an ambassadorial role in promoting the heritage value of their precinct.

To increase public appreciation for our waterfront heritage, they have developed and sustained a variety of community initiatives such as a self-guided heritage trail, free heritage tours led by experienced tour guides, a heritage gallery and a working red postal pillar box in the hotel as a reminder of its history as a former post office. The Fullerton Heritage also regularly supports programmes that enlivens the precinct for visitors from all walks of life, such as National Day and the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown.

Award for Conservation & Innovation (Distinction)
3 Sentosa Gateway, St James Power Station
Its most recent round of restoration in 2018 is testament to the progress made in local conservation expertise over the past decade, involving extensive historical research and interdisciplinary skills. ‘Floating’ floors and M&E services were sensitively inserted and a central skylit atrium and communal space were introduced to enhance the original spatial quality of the industrial landmark. The carpark has been hidden under a new front lawn with a revamped landscape and specially designed covered walkway to enhance the setting and accessibility of the national monument. As a tribute to the building’s history, a chimney has been cleverly transformed into a heritage gallery to document the life cycle of the building and tell the stories of former employees. 

Award for Conservation (Distinction)
5 (Atbara) & 7 (Inverturret) Gallop Road
By deliberately locating new buildings in the backdrop and protecting the landscaping on site, the grandeur of the two bungalows is elevated and their original spatial relationship is maintained, resulting in a serene and timeless environment that visitors can enjoy. Supported by extensive research into the origins of the buildings and the history of the site, the project team kept the period aesthetics intact while sensitively matching the new uses to the respective character of each building for a new life as part of the Gallop Extension of the Singapore Botanic Gardens for public education.

Award for Conservation 
1 Beach Road, Raffles Hotel
Using advanced techniques, this recent restoration project was grounded in extensive research, comprehensive industry knowledge and thorough site investigations. The efforts included addressing long hidden building issues and sensitive handling of diverse materials such as timber, lime plaster and cast iron to systematically restore the building to support contemporary needs. Recognising the importance of building maintenance and upkeep, the project team also developed a heritage management plan to guide long-term building management.

Special Mention
705 Serangoon Road, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital
The rejuvenated building now enjoys a stronger social connection with the wider community, through the recovery of the view from the main road into the long-hidden courtyard and the introduction of a naturally ventilated canteen on the ground floor. A generous space has also been dedicated to house a community curated heritage gallery to showcase the history of the hospital and the philanthropic spirit of the founders, employees, donors and volunteers.

Special Mention
292 Joo Chiat Road
With an approach of minimal intervention, the physical fabric of the building was largely kept intact with distinctive features such as the front open balconies, rear service blocks and spiral staircases retained. Its new use as a co-working space has made it a potential new centre for the surrounding community. A building management plan has also been put in place to guide the long-term maintenance of the architectural features.

Refer to Annex A [PDF, 129kb] for the detailed write-ups of the projects, Annex B [PDF, 75kb] for the citations, and Annex C [PDF, 113kb] for details of the AHA scheme.

A season to enjoy and learn about our built heritage

Held in conjunction with the AHA is the month-long Architectural Heritage Season, featuring a host of activities organised with URA’s community partners to promote professional knowledge exchange and public appreciation for our heritage buildings and conservation areas. Over the next four weeks, professionals and the general public can look forward to a series of talks, tours, exhibitions and community activities that showcase best conservation practices and tell the stories of our historic districts.

Kickstarting the season is an exhibition of 30 handcrafted ceramic tiles based on the unique forms and patterns on heritage buildings. As part of URA’s continued outreach efforts to the youth, URA has collaborated with 30 students from the School of the Arts Singapore to create the tiles inspired by past winners of the AHA, such as the former Supreme Court, Murray Street shophouses and the former Capitol Theatre. The tiles will be exhibited at City Canvas at the Singapore City Gallery until 31 December.

The public can also learn fun facts about the historic districts of Katong and Mount Sophia through two virtual tours, where URA volunteers and stakeholders of the two areas will take viewers through the districts’ history and development, as well as share personal memories and stories behind well-known heritage buildings. 

To experience a vibrant conservation area, the public can participate in the Kampong Gelam Day Out on 26 November, where stakeholders will enliven the precinct with community programmes such as tours, movie screenings, workshops for both young and old, and other activities that will showcase the heritage trades and businesses in the area.

There will also be a series of talks and tours held over four weeks for the professional industry, where the winning project teams of this year’s AHA will share about industry techniques and best practices that contributed to the successful outcome of their projects.

Refer to Annex D [PDF, 293kb] for details of the Architectural Heritage Season.

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