13 Wilkie Terrace | Displacements
“Come say hello, To help us say goodbye”
1 – Room 1
1 – Room 2
1st Floor Stairs
1st Floor Stairs Steps
View1st Floor Corridor
2nd Floor Stairs
2nd floor Master Bedroom
2nd floor Dining
2nd floor Kitchenette
2nd Floor Room 1
2nd Floor Room 2
Family ‘celebrates’ end of bungalow
Striatstimes May 2013
Arts events before 78-year-old house in Mt Sophia makes way for condo
Published on May 13, 2013
By Janice Tai
HIDDEN from most eyes, the last standing bungalow in Wilkie Terrace will soon be demolished to make way for new condominium developments.
The 9,321 sq ft, 78-year-old house at 13 Wilkie Terrace was sold to Roxy-Pacific Holdings for $24.5 million early this year. It is believed to be the last of four properties there to be acquired by the real estate firm.
In a swansong to their home, the Chia family has decided to invite the community to talk about the changes sweeping through the historic Wilkie Road and Mount Sophia area, and beyond.
They will open their house to the public for three weeks from the first week of June for a community art exhibition, house parties and documentary screenings.
Mr Yen Phang, 34, a Chia family member who initiated the project, called Displacement, said: “Displacement is about change – how we cope with it, document it and eventually come to embrace it.”
The bungalow was built in 1935 by his grandfather and three generations of at least 100 members of his family have lived there.
Mr Phang lived there when he was a baby but moved out with his immediate family when he was two. He remembers how his cousins would fly kites and ride their bicycles around the spacious courtyard.
One of his cousins and his family live there now but will move out by the end of this month.
The project hopes to go beyond personal memories. A room in the house will be set aside to showcase the memories and stories of the neighbourhood and Singapore – contributed by the public. Mr Phang said submissions have been trickling in.
One resident remembers how he used to buy 25-cent curry puffs from the original Old Chang Kee stall in a coffee shop opposite the nearby Rex Cinema.
Paintings and installations by 16 artists on the theme of transience and change will also be exhibited in five of the rooms.
Street photographer Valence Sim, 31, will exhibit photographs and audio recordings of elderly people who used to live in and around Selegie Road.
Singapore-based Indian artist Kanchana Gupta, 38, is displaying a three-metre long map of Singapore, on which people can mark out locations of where they have lived over the years, to trace the process of displacement.
Mount Sophia was an important inner-city residential district for the middle and upper classes at the turn of the 19th century.
The evolution of urban development in the area is evident in the mix of buildings there, which showcase a rich architectural history, though many have now made way for new developments.
Buildings such as the Rex Cinema and the Cathay cinema, for instance, were built in the Art Deco style of bold, geometric shapes.
In Wilkie Road, there are two notable buildings which are conserved. One is the Church of Christ of Malaya, built in 1958, and the other is Sophia Flats, built in the 1930s, and one of a few apartment blocks to survive from that period.
Architect Kenneth Lee, 26, said the Chia bungalow resembles the neo-classical style, with its three-part structure such as its V-shaped roof and its elevation above ground. “It is unique in its heritage and there are not many around in Singapore,” he said.
As part of the Displacement project, there are plans to have an event where people can sample Jewish recipes – the area used to boast a significant Jewish presence. A retro closing party and art documentaries are also on the cards.
“We are calling this communal group therapy where we acknowledge and celebrate loss and the passage of time,” said Mr Phang of the project, which is partly funded by the National Arts Council, Roxy-Pacific Holdings and public donations.