Peranakan Place, formerly known as Peranakan Corner, is situated at 180 Orchard Road.1 It forms part of the Emerald Hill Conservation Area within the Orchard district in central Singapore. Peranakan Place comprises a row of six two-storey shophouses facing Orchard Road, built around 1902. The entrance is on Emerald Hill Road at the Orchard Road junction.2
History and key developments
By the turn of the 20th century, Emerald Hill Road became a fashionable abode for Peranakans, and 40% of the tenants or owner-occupiers in the 1930s were Peranakans. Their dwellings combined European doric columns, shuttered windows and brightly coloured ceramic tiles with flower and bird motifs, creating an architectural melange commonly referred to as Chinese Baroque.3
In 1984, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) leased Peranakan Corner en-bloc to Peranakan Place Complex Pte Ltd, an entity jointly established by a group of people who shared the common objective of promoting the spirit and life of the Peranakan community and culture. Members of the group included an antique dealer, an architect, a property developer and a 10th-generation Peranakan. The area was also renamed Peranakan Place that year.4
To preserve some of the best examples of Peranakan buildings and dwelling houses in Singapore, the URA announced in August 1985 that Emerald Hill Road was to be a conservation area.5 With the setting up of the Emerald Hill Conservation Area at a cost of S$2.2 million, the URA restored and reopened the six double-storey shophouses in Peranakan Place later that year.6 The tenants included Bibi’s, a nightspot that offered Peranakan food and theatre entertainment; a museum; and a shop selling Peranakan antiques, cooking utensils, ingredients and cookbooks.7
In the 1990s, Peranakan Place underwent a second round of renovation, and thereafter saw the opening of electronics and optical shops.8 In 1999, the lessee, Peranakan Place Complex Pte Ltd, bought over the conserved shophouses from the landlord, Pidemco Land.9
In 2015, the Singapore Visitor Centre opens its doors in a Peranakan shop-house between Peranakan Place and Orchard Gateway. The new centre is a one-stop service and information touch-point that hopes to add to visitors' overall experience in Singapore.10
With its colonnaded covered walkways, Peranakan Place is currently an attraction on Orchard Road for tourists and locals alike. It is closed off to traffic, and has commercial spaces as well as food and beverage outlets.11
1. “Contact,” Peranakan Place, accessed 4 May 2017.
2. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Orchard Planning Area: Planning Report 1994 (Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, 1994), 5. (Call no. RSING 711.4095957 SIN); “Emerald Hill,” Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore, accessed 28 February 2017.
3. “Peranakan Place,” Goodwood Journal, 4th Qtr (1989): 6–11 (Call no. RSING 052 GHCGJ); Tan Dawn Wei, “A Short History of Peranakan Place,” New Paper, 27 October 2002, 36 (From NewspaperSG); Lee Kip Lin, Emerald Hill: The Story of a Street in Words and Pictures (Singapore: National Museum, 1984), 5. (Call no. RSING 959.57 LEE)
4. Oei Sin Geok, “Peranakan Corner Leased to One Group,” Singapore Monitor, 30 November 1984, 3; Lisa Lee, “Group of Four Wins Contract to Manage Peranakan Place,” Business Times, 1 December 1984, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Orchard Planning Area, 23–24; “Peranakan Place,” 6–11; Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore, “Emerald Hill.”
6. “Peranakan Place,” 6–11; Tan, “Short History of Peranakan Place.”
7. “Peranakan Place Goes Modern,” Straits Times, 16 April 1991, 1; Margaret Chan, “Just Like Grandma’s Feasts,” Straits Times, 26 May 1985, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Peranakan Place Goes Modern.”
9. Tan, “Short History of Peranakan Place.”
10. Cheryl Faith Wee, “New Singapore Visitor Centre Opens,” Straits Times, 17 February 2015, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
11. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Orchard Planning Area, 23–24; “Peranakan Place,” 6–11; Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore, “Emerald Hill.”
The information in this article is valid as at October 2018 and correct as far as we can 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.