Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gem near Orchard - Emerald Hill

I had always wanted to go to Emerald Hill. It is funny that I had never been because it is extremely accessible. What makes it even more unbelievable is that it is located near Orchard Road, Singapore’s busy central shopping district! 

Formerly Emerald Hill was a plantation land, the area was subdivided and developed into a idyllic residential estate for wealthy Chinese and Straits-Chinese merchants and their families at the turn of the 20th Century.

"Their dwellings comprised of terrace houses of a variety of architectural styles (ranging from Transitional, Late to Art-Deco) as well as independent mansions (now demolished). Many feature ornate pintu-pagars and have ground floor facades decorated with attractive ceramic tilework. Elaborate plaster work and wood carvings combine to create an architectural hybrid that is also referred to as ‘Chinese Baroque’.

In 1985, the URA announced that Emerald Hill would be a conservation area, the first in Singapore, in order to conserve some of the best examples of Straits Chinese style of dwellings. The conservation area also includes the development known as ‘Peranakan Place’, which is a row of 6 two-storey shophouses (circa 1902) fronting Orchard Road. This was a pilot restoration and development project carried out by the URA in 1985.
The area today is an attractive and quiet residential area with several commercial units in the main shopping zone near Orchard Road."
quoted from URA

Emerald Hill finally received formal conservation status on 7 July 1989. It also has a number of high-quality restoration projects that have won the URA Architectural Heritage Award.

These photos are taken during my first trip in January this year.

As you can see, hidden next to our bustling shopping district, which is full of tall high rise buildings, is this quiet little enclave. Pretty cosy, I would say. Usually, you would see a few photographers taking photos around the area.

Does this area reminds you of Katong? It is quieter here as it is mainly residential area. Some of the shophouses are converted to pubs. They are nearer to Orchard Road near Peranakan Place. I particularly love this row of terrace houses.

I love to look at the gates and the windows. Each unit has different looking shuttered windows. 

This has an elaborated Chinese gate. Reminds you of a temple

Love these walls

These windows are lovely!

Floral tiles can be found here too. 

Old house against the modern backdrop of Heeren

Wow! A tiled house number! And a stone lion. 
door knobs on gates

The trees and plants add a little rustic feel to the neighbourhood

5 foot way is another area I love capturing on my lens especially places as old as this

Pintu pagar is another object that fascinates me. The craftmanship is fascinating

The 2 different coloured benches and the 2 pillars catches the attention of my eyes

Although these houses on Emerald Hill are similar to those found in Joo Chiat and Katong, they are in fact, older.

Some beautiful lamp
I particularly like this address plaque. This has a Peranakan feel.

Somehow I am attracted to this store but it is not open

Look at the old school gate

Although not much can be found from the internet about Emerald Hill,  I found 2 articles related to the area.

Singapore Chinese Girls School used to be located here. The premise on Emerald Hill was declared a significant historical site by the National Heritage Board.

The story, Emily of Emerald Hill, was inspired by the author, Stella Kon's grandmother. A thing to note, Stella's great  grandfather was Dr Lim Boon Keng, who was the founder of Singapore Chinese Girls School.

Have you been here? If you do, do you have any stories to share?

This quiet little gem is a quick getaway if you want to relax or to be away from the crowd.

How to get there?
It is near Orchard Road. Just walk in the lane between Peranakan Place and Orchard Gateway@Emerald.


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  1. Such gorgeous architecture.
    Thanks for sharing these great shots at

  2. You have nice photos. Great architecture I agree with her as Sue commented..

  3. Oh my what a hidden gem in business Orchard! Absolutely love the architecture detail of these heritage houses.


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