David Elias Building

The David Elias Building, completed in 1928, is situated at the junction of Short Street and Middle Road.1 The building features various Stars of David in bas-relief on its facade. The words “David Elias Buildings” and the year of its completion are inscribed beneath the Star of David at the top of each of its main frontages.2

Key features
David Elias Building was built in 1928 by Jewish merchant David Elias to house his trading company. The architect firm Swan & Maclaren was commissioned to design the building, and its three-storey “stripped” neoclassical style was popular during the 1920s. At the point where the facade joins the roof, the concrete slab projects strongly and serves as both cornices and eaves to the roof. The roof is high-pitched and broad and the cantilevered bay windows are two storeys high. Various Stars of David can be found on the building’s facade as bas-relief decorations. The building is said to dominate the area’s landscape, yet lending dignity to the street with its visual effect.3 It houses rooms and business offices for rent, shops of local merchants, eateries as well as offices of D. J. Elias & Company.4

The David Elias Building was gazetted for conservation in 1994.5

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 261. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
2. Joan Bieder, The Jews of Singapore (Singapore: Suntree Media, 2007), 53. (Call no. RSING 959.57004924 BIE-[HIS])
3. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 261.
4. Bieder, Jews of Singapore, 53.
5. “Short Street,” Urban Redevelopment Authority, accessed 2 August 2016.  

The information in this article is valid as of 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Heritage and Culture
Historic buildings--Singapore
Architecture, British colonial--Singapore
Historic buildings