Balestier Point

Text by Kelly Koh

Widely believed to be inspired by Moshe Safdie's famous Habitat ideas, Balestier Point was a different take on Singapore's archetypal podium-tower block.

Balestier Point in 2008 (Photo credit: Alvin Chow)

Standing at the junction of Balestier Road and Kim Keat Road, the distinctive vision of Balestier Point etches itself into one’s memory at first glance. One of the few ‘modern’ developments fronting Balestier Road, it sits on the site of the old Ruby Theatre, which had been screening Chinese films since 1958.

Ruby Theatre in Balestier, Singapore

Programmatically, it is congruent with its neighbouring shophouses, with commercial activities occupying the bottom floors and residential units above. Formally, it appears to draw influence from the Habitat development by Moshe Safdie, sharing a stacked modular aesthetic. Reacting to its urban context, the building’s strong geometry was manipulated to accord it with the scale of the street in a series of simple manoeuvres. The stepped facade drastically fragments the building’s solidity, and the cubic framed walkway presents a creative interpretation of the traditional five-foot way of the shophouse.

Exterior of Balestier Point

Nightclubs of Balestier Point

As a residence, Balestier Point provides dwellers with a unique living experience, defined by the allocation of an outdoor terrace and garden for everyone. The resultant recesses provide ample sun-shading for internal spaces, while the residents’ individualised gardens generate variety on the facade.

Commercial podium of Balestier Point

Despite its dynamic exterior, the commercial space within Balestier Point is drab with lifelessness, with small offices taking over former retail units. A small, quiet community remains within its walls, operating with an unspoken understanding.