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Emerald Hill Road, Singapore Overview

Breathtaking architecture, quaint shophouses and beautiful heritage buildings make Emerald Hill Road one of Singapore's hidden gems. The tree-lined boulevard with trendy bars and terrace houses (which Emerald Road is most famous for), makes for a picture postcard neighbourhood - a verdant stretch standing in stark contrast to its immediate neighbour, Orchard Road, which is one of Singapore's main shopping areas, always full of hustle and bustle. It is worth walking by for those visiting Orchard Road. Emerald Hill Road is littered with professional photographers as well as amateurs, all of whom are captivated by the exquisite and elegant architecture splashed all along this frangipani scented Road.

The quaint pastel-shaded road has a colourful and tumultuous history, involving Chinese immigrants, English settlers and for a major part, Peranakan settlers. Influential Peranakan settlers bought houses along Emerald Hill Road, and this influenced the culture and architecture of the Road greatly, giving it the beautiful terrace houses it is now famous for. The essence of Emerald Hill Road lies in the structural design of its terrace and shophouses, all of which were built in the early 1900s and reflect the beauty and grandeur of that age. The large mansions with their majestic frontage, intricately carved wooden decorations and extraordinarily big entrance gates work together to transport the visitor back in time. Many visitors discover the architectural beauty of Emerald Hill Road, when they wander, almost by accident, onto this tranquil road with its quirky bars, colonial terrace houses and red-bricked souvenir shops.

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Terrace Houses of Emerald Hill Road

Several homeowners on Emerald Hill Road allow tours of their houses on special request. There are several popular terrace homes in this gorgeous neighbourhood which visitors flock to. These include Number 56, which was built in 1902, and is one of the oldest buildings on the Road. Number 39 to 45 are also worth a visit, with exotic wide frontages and grandiose entrance gates built in the Chinese style of architecture. Number 120 to 130 are popular due to their art deco forms which date back to 1925.

Terrace houses along Emerald Hill Road
Terraced Houses along Emerald Hill Road (Source)

Architecture

The major attraction of Emerald Hill Road is its beautiful and breathtaking architecture. Providing a pleasant break from the high rises of Singapore, the stunning terrace and shophouses along Emerald Hill Road are reminiscent of old colonial heritage. Most of the properties along the Road were built during the early 20th century, mostly between 1905- 1925, and although the current homeowners can renovate the interiors, they must maintain the original exteriors. Shophouses and terrace houses which line Emerald Hill Road are built along the Chinese Baroque and art deco architectural styles. Visitors are struck by the beauty of the magnificent entrance doors, the carved wooden window shutters and the elaborately adorned cornices and horizontal bands on the terrace and shophouses.

Emerald Hill Road Singapore
Emerald Hill Road at night (Source)

History

Emerald Hill Road first had pepper plantations cultivated by Chinese immigrants in the 1800s. Soon after, it changed hands and became a nutmeg plantation which failed in the 1860s, due to a terrible disease. An orchard was then built on Emerald Hill Road, which failed too; and by 1924 the cottages on the Road were being replaced by terrace houses. Influential Peranakan settlers bought houses along Emerald Hill Road, and this influenced the culture and architecture of the Road greatly.

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