SINGAPORE - Walk through the historic Bras Basah-Bugis district and you will see plenty of heritage buildings and old shophouses.
But look closer and you may find that some of them are prematurely showing their age.
Extensive construction work in the area on the new Downtown Line has left a large and very visible crack on the facade of a section of Bugis Village in Rochor Road.
The retail enclave comprises three terraced blocks of restored pre-war shophouses.
Cracks have also emerged on some buildings in Waterloo Street.
A glass wall of a two-storey building occupied by the Dance Ensemble Singapore shattered last year, purportedly as a result of excavation works for the upcoming Bencoolen station as well as other private construction works in the area.
The damage has unnerved shoppers and other visitors to the area.
Mr Azyure D. Hikari, 34, chief executive of Urban Explorers of Singapore, a group which explores little-known places here, spotted the Bugis Village crack last month and posted a photo of it on the group's Facebook page. The crack is so large it runs from the building's roof to the street level.
"It looks like the building might break apart any time," said student Noorhaini Noorsam, 17, who hoped the authorities can rectify it soon. "It's a busy area with heavy traffic along its sides and its passageways are usually packed with pedestrians and shopkeepers," she said.
Bugis Village's owner CapitaCommercial Trust (CCT) said the damage was due to a "misalignment of existing expansion joints" on the building's facade as a result of construction works carried out by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Rochor Road.
As part of the expansion of the rail network, LTA is constructing new Downtown Line stations in the area.
Downtown Line 1, which includes Bugis interchange, will open in December.
Works on Downtown Line 2, on which Rochor is one of the stops, will be completed in 2016 while Downtown Line 3, with Bencoolen and Jalan Besar stations, will be ready in 2017.