The National Heritage Board (NDB) collaborates with My Little Brick Shop in the Building History: Monuments In Bricks And Blocks exhibition, which display Singapore’s eight national monuments made with more than 110,000 Lego pieces. The exhibition is currently held at the National Library, after which the miniature landmarks will make their appearances at the public libraries at Jurong, Tampines, Ang Mo Kio, Sengkang and Choa Chu Kang.
Central Fire Station
Still in operation today, the Central Fire Station is Singapore’s oldest surviving fire station. Built in 1909, it was also the first fire station in Singapore to be equipped with modern fire engines and fire fighting equipment. The firefighters from the Central Fire Station played important roles in the nation’s history; they were activated and involved during the Bukit Ho Swee fires (1961) and the Hotel New World disaster (1986).
Gazetted on 18 December 1998 by the Preservation of Monuments Board as one of Singapore’s national monuments, the Central Fire Station’s striking red and white facade symbolises “blood and bandage”, representing the firemen’s roles and commitment in their rescue and life-saving jobs. The tall lookout tower is the station’s another iconic feature, where it was used in the past by the firemen to spot fires and smokes in the city area.
Built in 1932, the current Sultan Mosque is the second version, replacing the original mosque that had its history dated back to 1824, when Singapore was ceded to the British East India Company. As part of the agreement, a parcel of land was reserved near Istana Kampong Glam for the construction of the mosque.
As the former royal mosque of Singapore, Sultan Mosque’s grand design was largely influenced by the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, a mixture and blending of traditional Islamic, Indian and European architectural styles. The most recognisable part of the mosque is its twin large onion-shaped domes, while its other features include minarets at each corner of the building, decorative cresting along the roof and around the arched window bays.
On 8 March 1975, Sultan Mosque was gazetted as one of Singapore’s national monuments.
The National Museum of Singapore’s history dated back to 1887, when it was built and served as a library and museum of Southeast Asian natural history. Located at Stamford Road, the oldest museum in the country was gazetted on 14 February 1992 as part of Singapore’s national monument list.
The National Museum was designed in typical Neo-Classical style, which, based on ancient Greek architectural style, consists of symmetry in the building layout, even spacing of the window bays, and the inclusion of large triangular pediments at the corners of the building. There is also the striking large dome at the centre of the museum building, which has numerous glass windows to allow natural light to enter the central atrium area.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
Built in 1842 as a place of worship for the local Chinese Hokkien community as well as the immigrants from China, the Thian Hock Keng Temple is currently one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore. It was also within the temple premises that saw the establishment of Hokkien Huay Kuan, a clan association that promotes and provides education, culture and social welfare among the local Chinese.
There are three traditional main temple halls designed for Thian Hock Keng, where each main hall is linked to smaller halls via covered walkways. The temple’s typical Chinese architectural style is also displayed through its curved roofs with sweeping ends, decorated with dragon ornaments, and the large incense burners in its courtyards.
Thian Hock Keng was added to the national monument list on 28 June 1973.
Jurong Town Hall
The Jurong Town Hall looks futuristic now even though it was built in 1974. The building is a reminder of Singapore’s rapid industrial development and economic progress between the sixties and seventies, during which the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) was established to oversee Singapore’s industrialisation projects as well as develop and manage the nation’s newly-built industrial estates.
As JTC’s headquarters, the Jurong Town Hall has the modern architectural style that emphasises the industrial character of the building. From the sky, it looks like the capital H, while the unique building looks like a ship when viewed from the side.
The Jurong Town Hall was gazetted on 2 June 2015 as a national monument.
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
Opened in 1931 and gazetted as a national monument on 8 April 2011, the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station has played an important role in the transport and railway history of Singapore. Once the key transport hub linking Singapore’s port to the Malay peninsula, the railway station, upon completion, was a modern station fitted with many facilities for passenger comfort such as hotel, hair salon and restaurant.
Designed in Art Deco style, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station’s most iconic features are the four sculptures on its facade, which represent the four economic sectors – agriculture, commerce, transport and industry – of colonial Malaya.
Former Nanyang University Library
Built in 1955, the former Nanyang University (Nantah) was founded to provide education for the Chinese community in Singapore. Singapore’s second university after the National University of Singapore, the construction of Nanyang University was funded generously by the local Chinese from all walks of life, while the land it was sited on was donated by the Hokkien Huay Kuan.
The former Nanyang University library and administrative building has become the Chinese Heritage Centre of Nanyang Technological University today. It is largely designed in Chinese National style, which comprises a traditional Chinese roof on top of a modern concrete building. On 18 December 1998, it was gazetted as one of Singapore’s national monuments.
St Andrew’s Cathedral
A reminder of the English, Scottish and Indian influences during the colonial era, the St Andrew’s Cathedral is currently Singapore’s oldest Anglican place of worship, in existence since 1861. It is also the last major building constructed by the Indian convict labourers.
Gazetted on 28 June 1973 as a national monument, the grand cathedral possesses a Neo-Gothic architectural style, made up of a cross-shaped floor plan, sharply-pointed lancet windows and high arches. The tall tapered spire on top of the main building and large stained glass windows behind the church altar are also some of the unique features of St Andrew’s Cathedral.
Published: 24 June 2018