Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

July 10, 2008

Building conservation: French lessons

Filed under: General — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:49 am

A SEMINAL post-war housing project in France could provide some ideas for building owners seeking viable ways to conserve their property.

Designed by French architect Le Corbusier, Unite d’Habitation in the city of Marseille is an 18-storey slab block that can house up to 1,600 people. It comes with an internal ’shopping street’, a gymnasium and an open-air theatre on its roof.

The 56-year-old building even has a hotel which is frequented by architecture buffs keen to get a taste of life in the 1950s. Depending on the size of the rooms, visitors pay between 59 euros ($124) and 120 euros a night. They can also arrange to visit an apartment furnished as it was in the 1950s.

Similar arrangements could work for noteworthy Singapore buildings.

Architectural historian Lai Chee Kien says: ‘We could argue that housing is one of the great innovations of Singapore, whether it was built by the Housing Board or the Singapore Improvement Trust before that. It would really be great if we have places like that to narrate the history of Singapore.’

But the Unite model is just one of many options that building owners can take. Ultimately, they are limited only by their imagination.

Dr Lai says: ‘If there’s a will, human imagination can work its way out of problems.’

Source : Straits Times – 7 Jun 2008

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