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Eight shophouses in Jalan Besar to be conserved, another 24 under consideration by URA

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The eight pre-World War II shophouses to be conserved are predominantly of the "Art Deco" architectural style and reflect the urbanisation of Singapore at that time.

EIGHT shophouses in Jalan Besar will be put up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for conservation status.

The conservation of these eight shophouses - located at 593 Serangoon Road, 458 Race Course Road and 1 to 11 Balestier Road - will complete a cluster of heritage buildings in Serangoon Road, Race Course Road and Tessensohn Road.

Jalan Besar was first gazetted as a conservation area in October 1991.

The eight pre-World War II shophouses to be conserved are predominantly of the "Art Deco" architectural style and reflect the urbanisation of Singapore at that time.

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One of the eight, the two-storey shophouse at 593 Serangoon Road, has become a prominent landmark at the Serangoon Road and Balestier Road junction with its easily recognisable curved frontage. It is also noted for being home to the Singapore Institute of Science since 1952, one of the first institutions in Singapore to hold science laboratory classes.

Its current proprietor, Teng Tieu Guan, who grew up in the area, was pleased at the news of the building's conservation.

The 49-year-old's grandparents  operated a coffee shop on the ground floor in the 1970s and later bought over the building in the 1980s.

Mr Teng said: "Having stayed here for decades, all of us have a very strong attachment to this area. Keeping our built heritage helps bind the community to the place and conserving this shophouse is what my grandparents had always wanted."

As part of URA's study of the area, another three blocks of "Art Deco" style shophouses nearby have been identified and are being studied for possible conservation.

The blocks - with 24 addresses from 278 to 324 Lavender Street - are just opposite a row of already conserved buildings in Jalan Besar.

Together, they can serve to retain the historic streetscape in Lavender Street, flanked by the familiar facades of the shophouses on both sides.

As part of the public consultation process, feedback is currently being sought from owners and heritage and community groups.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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