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Singapore Shophouses

June 28, 2011

I had my first taste of Asian culture in 1995 on a visit to Taiwan.  at the time it was utterly alien to my Midwestern sensibilities, but one thing stood out – the shophouse.

It’s a simple concept, the shophouse – a business on the ground floor and residences above.  They are common throughout Asia; you can read more here: . Shophouses are visually interesting,


and in the case of Singapore shophouses, quite beautiful.

They were all over the city; each neighborhood had them, from Chinatown

to Little India.

Shophouses have, as part of their design, something called either a five foot or a seven foot way.  This is a covered verandah – a space where residents may walk free of the hot tropical sun and frequent rains.

We loved the shophouses.  In our world, people drive too far to work in too uniform a place producing plain vanilla products and services.  In this world, a commute is judged by the number of steps it takes to reach the ground floor, and the diversity of products and services available in the shophouse world is nothing short of staggering.

Visual interest, Entrepreneurship, capitalism and sustainable living at the family unit level; no SUV’s or McMansions required.  How cool is that?

I enjoyed it – an entire existence condensed to a 20′ frontage on a roadway, living by one’s wits, talent and determination.

To us, this was the ‘real’ Singapore.

One last shot – Although I’ve no idea what the Pheebs was trying to capture here, the finished product is visually interesting.

A pleasant fantasy, this – a shophouse owner.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2011 9:50 pm

    your next home needs to be a shophouse =)

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      June 29, 2011 11:32 pm

      It would be cool – but I’m guessing they cost about $3-4 million to buy…unless we go to Ho Chi Minh city and set up shop there.

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