By deduction, one could assume that Tanglin Halt got its name from the train station which serviced the industrial estate at Tanglin Halt Road and Tanglin Halt Close. Journeying from Tanjong Pagar Station, one would see, just to the right, one last housing estate before this train stop: Commonwealth Drive Blocks 74-80, completed in 1964.
Fast-forward 49 years to 2013 and residents are preparing to move across the road to their new estate, Commonwealth 10, with blocks up to 40 storeys. In August 2008, blocks 74-80 were identified for Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), bringing to an end the life of 669 flats and 26 commercial units.
To an outsider, it seems these 7 blocks of flats will be remembered for their close relationship with nature, as well as a historical identification with industry. The staircases at both ends of each block make the estate identifiable as a unit and are examples of simple strategies to give developments a sense of individuality. The large trees which shade some lower-floor units and the vast carpark at street level also recall an older time, their maturity symmetrical with the built estate; let us hope some will be retained.
Part of greater Queenstown, our country’s first Satellite Town, it is awakening to realise the bell has tolled for a historic development. Somehow timed together with SERS in several other pioneering estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Redhill and Bukit Ho Swee, it is clear that Singapore is graduating into a new era of public housing.