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Recognising the importance of quality restoration and design in shaping a distinctive and endearing city

Four projects conferred the Architectural Heritage Awards during month-long celebration of Singapore’s built heritage

  Published: 09 November 2018

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has conferred this year’s Architectural Heritage Awards (AHA) on projects that demonstrated exceptional restoration and innovative work on heritage buildings. Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, unveiled four winners and a Special Mention today, and presented the prizes. The projects are:

  • 9 Jurong Town Hall Road, Jurong Town Hall
  • 28, 30, 32 Madras Street, The Great Madras
  • 2 Mactaggart Road, Khong Guan Building
  • 1 Empress Place, Kwek Hong Png Wing and Riverfront Wing, at the Asian Civilisations Museum
  • 29, 31, 33 Mount Sophia, former Trinity Theological College Chapel, former Nan Hwa Girls’ School, and Olson Building of former Methodist Girls’ School, at the Sophia Hills Development

Well-restored heritage buildings serve as physical anchors of our history that can be enjoyed by future generations. They contribute to Singaporeans’ collective sense of identity and Singapore’s distinctive landscape. They also serve our city’s current and future needs when adapted for contemporary uses.

Now into its 24th year, the AHA recognises dedicated individuals and teams – building owners, architects, engineers, contractors and conservation specialists – who have gone above and beyond requirements in restoring heritage buildings. This year’s AHA winners exemplify the highest standards in sensitive restoration and innovative design, which enhanced the buildings’ longevity and value as heritage landmarks, and their relevance to the changing needs of our city.

Apart from well-restored heritage buildings, new buildings, including new extensions of heritage buildings, can also contribute positively to our heritage landscape. A new award category – Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts – has been introduced this year to recognise new buildings with outstanding design that complement and enrich their heritage setting, and to encourage best practices in this area.

AHA 2018 winners

Below is an overview of the projects.

Award for Restoration
9 Jurong Town Hall Road, Jurong Town Hall
Through sensitive restoration, the national monument has been rejuvenated as a symbol of Singapore’s industrialisation journey in the post-independence years, and of the country’s ‘Merdeka Generation’s’ ‘can-do’ spirit to build a new country. Home to trade associations today, the refreshed building features original spatial qualities that continue to provide a space that facilitates collaboration and promotes industrial growth.

Award for Restoration
28, 30, 32 Madras Street, The Great Madras
Key features of the pre-war Singapore Improvement Trust flat have been retained and meticulously refurbished, epitomising the building as a specimen of Art Deco architecture. A boutique hotel today, the creative interior design reimagines Singapore back in the 1930s. With more open and inclusive spaces that relate well with the neighbourhood, the building enlivens the street and brings the younger generation back to the Little India Historic District.

Award for Restoration and Innovation
2 Mactaggart Road, Khong Guan Building
The building is a prominent landmark for a home grown biscuit brand familiar to Singaporeans. Key features have been restored and storyboards installed on site to celebrate its history. A new canteen on the first floor, which used to be Khong Guan’s shopfront, will continue to serve the community and allow more people to experience the building’s historic fabric. Sensitive and innovative architectural design has also helped to seamlessly incorporate a new eight-storey extension, which respects the form and scale of the three-storey heritage building.

Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts
1 Empress Place, Kwek Hong Png Wing and Riverfront Wing at the Asian Civilisations Museum
Two new contemporary wings have been masterfully added to the 19th century neo-Palladian styled national monument, creating more spaces for the museum. Through thoughtful and subtle design interventions, the new wings are delicately integrated with the historic building. They have also created new vistas, vantage points and physical connections between the museum and the historic surroundings, and enhanced public interaction with the building.

Special Mention
29, 31, 33 Mount Sophia in the Sophia Hills development: former Trinity Theological College Chapel, former Nan Hwa Girls’ School, and Olson Building of former Methodist Girls’ School
The project has received a ‘Special Mention’ for its commendable efforts in rejuvenating the three conserved buildings through extensive research and careful restoration. The engagement of former communities and installation of heritage markers on site also keep the buildings’ legacies alive, as they are put to complementary uses as part of the residential development.  

With the addition of this year’s winners, there are now a total of 134 projects that have been conferred the AHA.

Refer to Annex A [PDF, 223kb] for the detailed write-ups of the projects, Annex B [PDF, 200kb] for the jury’s citations, and Annex C [PDF, 294kb] for details of the AHA scheme.

Celebrating our built heritage together

The community – building owners, professionals and the public – plays an important role in ensuring that our built heritage remains meaningful, relevant and sustainable. The AHA comes in the midst of the Architectural Heritage Season, a month-long programme to facilitate greater knowledge sharing among professionals, promote higher public awareness for URA’s conservation efforts, and to drive greater public participation and stewardship in shaping Singapore’s built heritage landscape.

Now into its second year, the Season is organised with support from URA’s community partners, and features a series of activities throughout the month of November. Professional architects will lead technical tours at heritage buildings, including this year’s AHA winners, to share best restoration practices. A range of seminars has also been lined up with speakers from the industry and academia to share their knowledge and experiences.

URA has been collaborating with students, professionals and partner agencies to support their efforts in promoting better appreciation for our built heritage. During the Season, there will be public exhibitions that showcase their work, which include exhibitions of student projects, newly gazetted buildings, and AHA winners. The public can also sign up for guided tours of heritage buildings, such as AHA-winning projects. Participants will learn more about the buildings’ history, and how they have continued to serve generations through good restoration.

The Season will culminate in the Kampong Glam Day Out on 24 November, where local stakeholders and URA have put together an exciting range of activities in the historic district. Highlights include tours and talks by stakeholders where participants will discover Kampong Glam’s hidden gems and traditional trades, the launch of new children’s storybooks, street carnivals, and an outdoor movie screening.

Refer to Annex D [PDF, 157kb] for details of the Architectural Heritage Season. 


Speech by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, at the 2018 Architectural Heritage Awards