At half the size of London, Singapore has limited space for pretty much everything, including, it turns out, nostalgia. The colourful Rochor Centre, a symbol of the city-state’s 1970s urban renewal programme, has been acquired by the government to make way for the new North-South Expressway. Demolition began this summer. Singapore’s other Brutalist buildings could soon be gone, too. That includes the ugly-beautiful People’s Park Complex, the 1970s-built Chinatown tower that’s become a much-loved icon of Singapore’s post-independence architecture.
In a popular push-back, a number of Facebook groups have sprung up to try to save the buildings from the wrecking ball. Can they succeed? In a city that has seen a 50 per cent boom in property prices since 2009, where space is at a premium, progress will likely prevail. In the meantime, the buildings have become an object of obsession for the city’s photographers, including Darren Soh, whose exhibition, Before It All Goes: Architecture from Singapore’s Early Independence Years, is at Objectifs until 29 September.