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Tour: Hong San See Temple: A Heritage Gem. An architectural heritage tour with Dr Yeo Kang Shua
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meeting point: Hong San See Temple (road level)
date | time: Saturday 20 Nov 2010 | 9.30 am
cost: Free to all
reservations: (Wendy).
This tour is limited to 30 persons.


Hong San See temple, or Temple of Phoenix Hill was orignally established in 1836 in Tras Street. In 1907, it moved to its present location at Mohamed Sultan Road. The temple sits on the side of Institution Hill (behind Fort Canning Hill), a name derived from the fact that the Trustees of Raffles Institution once owned the hill. The Chinese referred to this area colloquially as 水廊头 (shuilang-tou) or head of the water factory (in the Teochew and Hokkien Dialect), after the famous Whampoa Hoo Ah Kay’s Ice Works Factory that used to stand in Clarke Quay, which is referred to as 水廊内(shui-lang-nei) or within the water factory, in the 19th century. Hence, this temple is also known as 水廊头凤山寺 or Temple of the Phoenix Hill at the head of the water factory.


The Temple was built between 1908 and 1913 by Lim Loh, a well-known contractor who hailed from Nan-an (Lam Ann) County in China, and father of World War II hero Lim Bo Seng. Prior to the recent restoration in 2007-2009, the temple underwent four renovations.


The recent restoration efforts was accorded the highest honour by UNESCO with the 2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation – Award of Excellence. Join us for a guided tour of this relatively intact and finely crafted example of vernacular architecture of the Min-nan (southern Fujian province) region with Southeast Asian (Nanyang) influences.


YEO KANG SHUA obtained his PhD (Architecture) from the National University of Singapore. He has worked on many projects including conservation work and has collaborated in many archaeological projects in Singapore. He has published widely on theory of architecture, conservation and history. On two occasions, he was part of the team that won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation: Award of Excellence for Singapore Lam Ann Association’s Hong San See Temple Restoration Project (2010); and the inaugural heritage award Jury Commendation for Innovation for Yuhu Elementary School Project in Lijiang, China (2005). Before setting up Laborans, he was the inaugural head of the Monuments Inspectorate at the Preservation of Monuments Board.

Hong San See Tour

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