Old Hill Street Police Station, Singapore Overview
Singapore is a place with surprises at every nook, and when there is a rainbow painted across a colossal building, one cannot help but be taken aback for a moment. Against a backdrop of the old and new buildings, the vibrant MICA Building Art Galleries stands out and adorns the Hill Street in the Central Area of Singapore. The MICA Building, with 927 painted windows, is a major tourist attraction and for a good reason. With an array of bright colours which enhances the aesthetic look of the building, MICA is a popular spot for photography enthusiasts and art lovers.
Home to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth coupled with the Ministry of Communications and Information, and the MICA Building Art Galleries was honoured as a national monument on the 18th of December, 1998. The MICA Building was formerly known as the Old Hill Street Police Station. In 1999, the name was changed to MITA Building, only to be changed again in 2004 into MICA Building. Finally, in 2012, after the ministries were replaced, the MICA Building reverted to its first name and was again known as the Old Hill Street Police Station.
History of MICA Building
Until 1856, the Assembly Rooms used to occupy the site on which the MICA Building stands today. The magnificent building is also the site of the first jail of the Lion City. After the reorganisation of the Singapore Police Force in 1915, several police stations, including the Old Hill Street Police Station, were constructed to keep up with the Chinese secret society activities which increased on a regular basis. It was in 1934 when the Old Hill Street Police Station received its grand opening ceremony by a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, G. Sturrock, who was also the Advisor for the Malay States as well as the Director of Public Works. During the Japanese Invasion, this building doubled up as a jail and a torture chamber for prisoners. Soon after the war, it resorted back to being a police station.
Architecture of MICA Building
Built upon the tradition neoclassical style of architecture, the building draws in locals and tourists alike with its colourful facade. Spread across six levels, the MICA Building has a plethora of cantilevered balconies, corbelled loggias, stuccoed surfaces, and arcades. The two central courtyards, one larger than the other, also contribute to the splendid appearance of this tourist attraction. The primary courtyard has now been transformed into a resplendent air-conditioned atrium, and after a play on words, it has been named the ARTrium, owing to the art activities that have been devoted to this spot.
Sightseeing at the Old Hill Street Police Station
Windows: The 927 windows are the main attraction of Old Hill Street Police Station. They have been painted all the colours of the rainbow and are a magnificent sight to behold. The windows on the bottom have been coloured with the same intensity, while the colours on the upper windows intensify slowly. This colour gradient helps to highlight the beautiful cantilevered balconies which adorn the exterior of the building. ARTirum: Known as the [email protected], this is the main courtyard of the building. It has been converted into an air-conditioned atrium and has a stunning 29m high glass roof. Various art exhibitions and performing art events are held here. The atrium also has numerous art galleries which hold periodic exhibitions.
Getting to the MICA Building
The resplendent MICA Building can be accessed both by the public as well as private transits.
By MRT Disembark at the Clarke Quay MRT Station and take the Exit F. It only takes three minutes to reach the building on foot.
By Bus Get on the bus 2, 12, 33, 147 or 190 and get off at the bus interchange at Old Hill Street Centre. Reaching the building takes only a minute on foot from the bus stop.