Thursday, 3 September 2015

Maintaining Heritage Series | From Sansovino to Streamline Moderne: A history of the Singapore Shophouse

Row of Shophouses along Everton Road
Date: 17 September 2015, Thursday 
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Venue: NUS Baba House
Limited to 30 pax. To register, email

From Sansovino to Streamline Moderne explores the history and development of the Singapore shophouse from the early 19th century to the present day. We will examine the origins of this type of building in southern China and draw parallels with similar styles of architecture in other parts of Nanyang – wherever Chinese merchants established trading ports in times past.  

We will then trace the evolution of shophouse architecture in Singapore from a Chinese prototype through to the final stage of its development in the 1970s, pausing to reflect on the many different architectural styles the shophouse has passed through along the way – Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical and Streamline Moderne, among them – each of which is situated in a historical context. 

About the Speaker
Author and television presenter, Julian Davison, is the son of an architect and grew up in Singapore and Malaysia. He was educated in England and has a doctorate in social anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Julian has edited or contributed to several reference books and his publications include Black and White: the Singapore House 1898-1941 (2005) and Singapore Shophouse (2010). 

When he is not writing books, Julian writes and presents television programmes, including Site and Sound, a local history series. Most recently he has hosted Channel News Asia’s two-part documentary on the life of Sir Stamford Raffles, Raffles Revealed.

Maintaining Heritage Series
The Maintaining Heritage Series explores the varied dimensions of heritage in Singapore and beyond. It aims to create awareness of the challenges and considerations related to the study and management of the constituent elements that make up the heritage ecosystem. Themes on evolving cultural practices and policies, collecting and display, and conservation and urban development are approached through talks and discussions. 

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