SUTD unveils Jackie Chan’s gifts

A PART of the ancient Chinese structures donated by Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan to the Singapore University of Technology and Design was unveiled for the first time yesterday.

In 2008, he gave the school four life-size structures - a pavilion, an opera stage and two houses - from his personal collection.

The houses, known as the House of Da Tong and the House of Du Zhe, are named after places in China's Zhejiang province.

On display yesterday at the school's topping-out ceremony for its new campus in Changi was the House of Da Tong's roof truss, which is made up of several sets of cornice carvings. The house is 7m tall and 10m wide.

The four traditional Chinese timber structures, which date from the Ming and Qing dynasties, will be restored for use on SUTD's new campus.

Both houses will be fitted together to form a "clubhouse" for faculty members and students. The opera stage will be used for outdoor performances and the pavilion as a resting place.

The 4,000 pieces making up these four structures were shipped to Singapore in 2010.

Since then, SUTD assistant professor in architecture and sustainable design Yeo Kang Shua led a team to "reconstruct" the relics based on old photographs and come up with architectural drawings.

The conservation process, which included measuring, cleaning and checking the condition of all the pieces, took about a year.

The assembly, which will start some time next year, will take six to nine months to complete. The structures will be moved into the school's new campus in 2015, when the first phase of construction is completed.