Monday, March 16, 2009

The New 7th Storey Hotel - "Not An Icon" - Disappearing...

One of the landmark buildings of Singapore's past, former 5-star establishment, nine storeys high, The New 7th Storey Hotel on Rochor Rd was under demolition this morning as I rode a taxi to work along Nth Bridge Rd.

Bit of a shock. Sadness, disgust, frusrtration, anger.

I'm used to marveling at its poignant mid-century plainness, and its tendency to lean a bit, when I used to come in from the airport via the ECP. It was sitting in a field by itself, a welcome breathing space as Singapore rapidly swallows up green-space for the ill-advised rush to blastotic construction we've had here during the last 18 months' bubble.

Usually the DHL sponsored hot-air balloon was ready to go up next door. It is also opposite the Ayn Rand inspired Parkview Square, also another freaking weird building. (I wish they'd torn down that monstrosity, with its angel-like flying wine-waitresses instead, except my dentist works in there.)

It seems the classic 54 year old building [one employee claims to have been working there for 58 years, go figure] is going down to make way for the expanded Bugis MRT for the 2013's Downtown One Line. According to the news report, the owners had spent $100,000 refurbishing the hotel in the previous year and only found out about the demolition plans from the media... Tragic case of bluster and arrogance.

In a typical "We'll tell you what to think" statement from the Singaporean government -

"According to the Land Transport Authority, the hotel is not an iconic building and has no conservation status. "


It was a wonderful old eyesore, once one of the tallest buildings in town, once one of the top nitespots in old Singapore, just a whistle and a gun-shot from the once outrageous transvestite hooker and gangster centre of Bugis St (now a pathetic and inexplicably crap shopping mall). And it had this terrific circular staircase (one I never got around to checking out personally, I am ashamed to admit)...

We watched Saint Jack a year ago or so at my friend Milos's place, just after the 18 year ban on that Singapore-based movie was relaxed. I'm wondering whether the hotel was shown in that movie at all? It was not the place to which ex-007 George Lazenby brings a ladyboy home, I know that much.

Unfortunately, being of that plain, boxy, Bauhaus style so popular in the 50's, the 7th Storey Hotel was not what we these days would call cute or colorful. Hence, knock it down.

Its kind will not be seen in these parts again.

Sad. Shameful. Un-historic Singapore.



Indiana said...

I wonder what the justification will be for tearing down all the "black and whites" at Sembawang?

expat@large said...

That they're moldy, dank and full of ants?

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