5 Little Known Architectural Buildings in Singapore

Architectural Buildings

Singapore might be a small country but there is more than meets the eye. Singapore is famous for its skyscrapers like Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, and The AXA Tower.

There are also a lot of hidden structures in Singapore. These structures are often forgotten, but there is a rich background behind each one of them that makes them.

Let’s take a tour of Singapore and check out these architectural buildings in Singapore that you might never know before! 

Architectural Buildings in Singapore That You May Not Know

1. Istana Woodneuk

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
Image Source: State Of Buildings

Istana Woodneuk is a hidden gem probably for those who are often inquisitive about the world of the unknown. It was once home for Sultan Abu Bakar’s fourth wife, Sultana Fatimah bte Abdullah.

Built-in 1935 by the architect Denis Santry, Istana Woodneuk was built with Arabic elements in its design. The palace was burned down in 2006 and its iconic blue roof gave in, leaving the building in an irreparable state.

The paths leading up to the palace have been closed off by the Singapore Police Force. A signboard has been put up to discourage people from visiting Istana Woodneuk as the building is deemed unsafe.

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
Image Source: Remember Singapore

Seeing the remains of what used to be a palace for Sultan Abu Bakar’s wife makes one wonder what kind of life they had. You can still see the metal railings with floral designs, huge rooms with pillars, and the carved ventilation holes on the walls. It gives the mansion an Arabic palace-like feel.

Visiting Istana Woodneuk is not encouraged as it is private property. However, there are a lot of photos and videos online of Istana Woodneuk in its current conditions.

2. The Atbara House

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
Image Source: Remember Singapore

Perhaps those who have often explored Botanic Gardens have come across this building. This black-and-white bungalow was built by Regent Alfred John Bidwell in 1898.

The Atbara House was once used as a building for the French ambassador. Located among the greeneries in Botanic Gardens, the Atbara House would make one feel like they are in an English village.

The Atbara House was abandoned for several years after the French Embassy decided to move. Over the years, the Atbara house became rickety and had overgrown bushes around the house, but the Victorian-styled white pillars and black framed windows remained.

The Atbara House is currently under construction and the beautiful building will be preserved into a forest discovery center in Botanic Gardens.

The project is currently ongoing and its completion is currently unknown due to disruptions during the pandemic.

3. Karikal Mahal

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
The Renaissance Grand Hotel Source: Remember Sg 

The Karikal Mahal was a mansion built in 1917 by Indian cattle merchant Moona Kadir Sultan for his wives. It was heavily inspired by a mixture of styles such as Victorian, Indian, and Italian, making this design unique and the only one of its kind in Singapore.

The Karikal Mahal was then sold to Lee Rubber Company which then turned this mansion into a local budget hotel named the Renaissance Grand Hotel. The hotel closed down in 2000 as there was not much business.

The mansion was split in two when the government bought over part of the land to extend the main road, now known as Still Road to Still Road South.

These buildings were used as a warehouse for unused furniture in 2007 until Busy Bees Asia leased the buildings and turned it into an education center.

The intricate, ornate pillars make this building hard to miss. You can only imagine the kind of lavish life that Moona Kadir Sultan and his wifes lived. The grand building currently hosts The Odyssey Campus and Pat’s Schoolhouse.

Although the Karikal Mahal has gone through several transformations, the carvings and embellishments of the building have been well-preserved.

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
Source: The Straits Times The Odyssey Campus

4. The “Chopsticks” (Civilian War Memorial)

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
Source: Wikipedia

Standing tall and proud is the Civilian War Memorial, otherwise known as the “chopsticks” due to its structure resembling chopsticks. Contrary to its playful nickname, this structure has a deeper meaning behind it.

The Civilian War Memorial was designed by Leong Swee Lim, one of Singapore’s most popular architects.

It was built in 1967 to remember the civilians who were killed during the Japanese occupation. The four pillars represent the four main cultures in Singapore.

Looking at this structure would give anyone a mix of emotions. It is heart-wrenching to remember the innocent lives that were taken during the colonization.

The Civilian War Memorial perfectly depicts the hardships and sufferings that Singapore has gone through, but the fact that the structure is still standing tall to this day proves how strong and united Singapore truly is.

5. Sultan Mosque

Architectural Buildings In Singapore
Image Source: Roots Sg

The Sultan Mosque is one of Singapore’s most well-known mosques. It was designed by architect Denis Santry and built-in 1932 by Sultan Hussein Shah.

Painted white and gold, the Sultan Mosque has an eye-catching design influenced by Indo-Saracenic style, complete with minarets and balustrades. The original building had been torn down and rebuilt into the current Sultan Mosque.

The base of the dome is decorated with glass bottles, donated by members of the Muslim community at the time of construction so that all Muslims could contribute to the building.

Located at Kampong Glam, the Sultan Mosque can currently hold up to 5,000 people inside.

Although the Sultan Mosque is a familiar sight among locals, not many know the story behind the mosque and how the local Muslim community contributed to the construction of the mosque back then. It is an admirable act that adds to this mosque’s uniqueness.

Being a multicultural country with a rich history, Singapore has countless historical landmarks, some of which are hidden. The rich stories and history behind these structures make them more meaningful for everyone.

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5 Little Known Architectural Buildings In Singapore

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