Sim Kwong Ho Shophouses

Published - 20 November 2020, Friday

Image Credit: silverkris

Built in 1926, this shophouse - commonly known as the "Sim Kwong Ho" shophouse due to the inscription on the front of the building - is best known for its Chinese Baroque-style motifs. The introduction of the Chinese Baroque style was due to a rubber boom, where the newly rich showed off their wealth on their new buildings by ornamenting it with European architectural styles and features, while retaining their distinct Eastern influence and local flavours.

These shophouses are not only elegant aesthetically, they were also built to be incredibly functional. Since colonial times, these shophouses were built with stone and tiled roofs so the chances of the house catching fire were lower compared to houses made of wood, which were more commonplace in those days.

When you're in the area, keep your eyes peeled for the combination of Western features such as glazed floral tiles and floral wreaths, with traditional Chinese motifs such as mythical beasts and carvings of bats, which are an ancient symbol of good fortune to the Chinese. 

Credit: onthegrid.city

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Experience the neighbourhood up close by taking in the gorgeous art-deco buildings housing myriad of shops in Balestier. One of the best things to do is to come with no serious agenda and take a stroll, a camera in hand if you prefer, and look at the most prominent, Sim Kwong Ho Shophouse with its unique Chinese Baroque architecture. You’ll find many such shophouses and buildings to admire in this neighbourhood so put on your walking shoes and start exploring.