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Exploring the people’s park

Last week, Tiak and I visited Golden Mile Complex, one of Singapore’s post-independence architectural icons, designed by local architectural firm Design Partnership (now DP Architects). Today, we looked up another post-independence mixed-use complex designed by the same firm around the same time - People’s Park Complex. Both buildings were completed in 1973.

Almost half a century after the 31-storey building rose above the crumbling, ground-hugging shophouses of old Chinatown, People’s Park Complex remains one of the tallest buildings in the historic area. Its green and yellow colours, with bold red strokes making up its Chinese name which literally translates to “Pearl Lane” (after nearby Pearl’s Hill), are unmistakable from afar.

The complex has its own Taoist temple at its base, which was a pleasant find. Chinatown was undergoing urban renewal when the complex was completed in 1973, so it is possible that the temple had been relocated from somewhere nearby.

The food centre next to the complex.

The lower six floors of the complex comprised shops. Like Golden Mile Complex, People’s Park Complex still retains a strong 1970s / 1980s vibe.

And like in Golden Mile Complex, one can see multiple storeys exposed, like the decks of a ship.

There is a large number of travel agencies and massage outlets.

The top 25 floors are residential, accessible from one part of the ground floor. However, unlike Golden Mile Complex, access was restricted to residents only.

We could only climb up to the sixth floor and squint at the residential floors above us. It was raining heavily by then.

The sixth floor had a void deck which was partially open to the skies, giving us great views of the surrounding city. This was facing east, with the blocks of Hong Lim Complex directly in front.

This was facing southeast. Temple Street is the road in the middle.

A question mark still lies over People’s Park Complex’s future - will the authorities step in and impose conservation guidelines on it before a collective sale goes through, like what happened to Golden Mile Complex, or will it be too late?


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