“Shophouses” is a generic term of construction in which buildings are built contiguously, i.e. sharing party walls, forms blocks separated from each other by streets and back lanes. Normally, it is two or three storeys high, the first floor for commercial and residential for upper floors. The early shophouses were developed in the early 19th Century purely transitional adaptations to the tropical climate. Gradually intricate motifs were added on the facades to enhance the identity of the area. Kampong Glam was traditionally a Malay residential area. Little India & Chinatown were the hub of early immigrants of India & China, and Joo Chiat was where the Peranakan and Eurasian community were. However, the architectural style of the buildings were developed as:
Early Shophouse (18400 to 1900) – units with one or the most 2 simple windows at the upper floor.
First Transitional/Late Shophouse (1900 to 1940) – not more than 2 windows with minimum decoration.
Second Transitional (1930 to 1960) – building with elaborate ornamentations and tripartite façade arrangement of the upper floor is the most commonly seen.
Art Deco Shophouse (1930 to 1960) – buildings are constructed with simplified lines and geometrical patterns with special emphasis on the street corners.