Old Meets New: 8 Stunning Photos of Buildings in Singapore

A city of ethnic diversity, rich heritage, and constant innovation, Singapore is a nation like no other. In the lead-up to Singapore's National Day, we'll be highlighting the elements of Singapore that make it such a unique and beautiful country.

Like its population, its architectural landscape reflects a colourful mixture of Malay, Chinese and European influence.

Colonial Past

Did you know Raffles Hotel was designed to be a private beach house?

The Fullerton Hotel overlooks the Singapore River

European-style buildings were constructed after Sir Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a British trading port in 1819. He went on to plan the city’s layout, which largely remains to this day. Major commercial buildings were built in colonial architectural styles that were in fashion at the time, such as Palladian, Renaissance, and Neoclassical.

Well-known buildings designed in this era of style include CHIJMES, originally a catholic school; Victoria Concert Hall, originally the town hall; The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) Building, originally a police station; and the National Gallery of Singapore, the former Supreme Court building.


Bold and beautiful: Late-style shophouses line this street, each one slightly different from the other

Chinese lanterns contrast a brightly painted shophouse

Distinct in style and often decorative and colourful, the shophouse is an icon for Singapore’s architectural heritage. Constructed between the 1840s and 1960s, the shophouse design originates from China, and although it has gone through many design periods, they are still used for their initial purpose: housing and business.

Emerald Hill, Chinatown and Club Street are just some examples of where you will find these vibrant structures.

HDB Flats

HDB flats stand tall against a blue sky

High density living: clothes, curtains and a plant hang at HDB windows

1960 marks the year of Singapore’s housing crisis. Much of the population lived in slums, or was homeless. Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) was established on February 1st, 1960. In less than three years, 21,000 units were built, and within just ten years, HDB had resolved the housing crisis.

Having completed over one million flats, HDB now houses more than 80% of Singapore’s population. You can find some more awesome images of HDB flats here.


Singapore’s central business district lights up at night

A sunset glow over the city of Singapore

From the 1970s-1980s, Singapore underwent rapid industrialisation. This resulted in a construction boom, and since 1990, a whopping 113 skyscrapers (over 100m in height) have been erected. The Tanjong Pagar Centre is currently Singapore’s tallest building, measuring in at 290m high and boasting a massive 68 floors.

Next time you’re out exploring the streets of Singapore, try to pick out the contrasting structures – where old meets new. It is a nation’s diversity reflected in its very own streets.

For more free/licensed images of Singapore, find them on Raydar.