An ode to old buildings

Mr Soh with a print of 63-66 Yung Kuang Road, one of 25 works in his book For My Son.

SINGAPORE - He was worried his son would not know the Singapore he knew, what with the rapidly changing landscape here.

So he embarked on a project to preserve Singapore's vernacular architecture in print.

Last Tuesday, Mr Darren Soh, 37, launched his book For My Son at the National Museum of Singapore.

It contains a picture collection of buildings in Singapore that have been recently demolished or would soon be taken down.

He said: "The basic premise was that what I knew when I was young will soon be gone."

Mr Soh decided to put the book together so his 17-month-old son Christian will be able to see what Singapore's landscape used to be like when he gets older.

Some locations captured by Mr Soh include Punggol's Matilda House, which is being converted into a condominium clubhouse, and Block 20, Geylang Lorong 3, which is now being demolished.

Mr Tan, an architecture photographer who has been taking photos professionally for 12 years, said: "Before, I just had to take these photos to document them because they were about to be demolished, but I realised these buildings were actually quite beautiful."

Affinity

He said the buildings he had a particular affinity for were older HDB estates such as those in Geylang.

"These HDB buildings are interesting in their own right. They are viewed as functional and serve a purpose but they never figure in the conservation equation. "They fall through a crack where they are not new enough and not old enough to be conserved," said Mr Soh.

For My Son is the first in a series of 25 books to be published by TwentyFifteen.sg, a project driven by local photography community Platform to celebrate Singapore's golden jubilee year in 2015.

One of Platform's co-founders, Mr Ernest Goh, 34, said: "Photography in general is an act of preservation. We hope to contribute our part as photographers to celebrate Singapore's heritage with images."


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