"A historical source of delight and nostalgia" The Shophouse

Shophouses are a prevalent building type in Singapore's architectural and built heritage. These buildings are generally two- to three- storeys high, built in contiguous blocks with common party walls.

The Shophouse

Shophouses —a historical source of delight and nostalgia— are a prevalent building type in Singapore’s architectural and built heritage. These buildings are generally two- to three- storeys high, built in contiguous blocks with common party walls. They are narrow, small terraced houses, with a sheltered ‘five foot’ pedestrian way at the front.

Historic Cities

Constructed between the 1840s and the 1960s, these shophouses formed the majority of the pre-World War 2 urban fabric of the old city centre as well as several other parts of Singapore. They are also commonly found throughout the historic cities of South East Asia.

Key Elements

Shophouses therefore form the bulk of our gazetted conservation buildings. The key elements of the shophouses have been carefully restored and conserved according to our conservation guidelines.


Total Shophouse


Total Transaction This Year


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Key Elements


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Key Elements of the Shophouses

Find out more on the good practices for maintaining a conserved shophouse.

The quality restoration of a shophouse requires an appreciation and understanding of the architecture of the building.

The key elements that need to be respected in the restoration of a typical shophouse are:

Key Elements of the ShophousesDescription
Party WallsThese are principle load bearing walls that separate a shophouse from its neighbouring shophouse.
Timber Structural MembersThis refers to the main and secondary timber beams, that span from one party wall to the other and supports each floor. .It also includes the timber floor boards, and timber rafters that support the roof.
AirwellsAirwells are courtyards that are exposed to the sky, they provide natural ventilation and lighting to the interior of the shophouse They facilitate a comfortable indoor environment in our tropical climate.
Rear CourtAn open courtyard located at the back of the shophouse. It is bounded by the rear boundary wall, service block, rear elevation of the main shophouse and the party wall. This area was traditionally used for functional needs such as the kitchen and the toilet.
Timber WindowsTimber framed windows that are designed in the French or Casement style. Some have solid infill panels while others will have operable timber shutters/jalousies to allow for air and light.
Timber StaircaseThis refers to the staircase inside the shophouse, which are often of timber structural construction In some houses, the timber balustrades can be of ornate design.
Front FacadeThe front ‘face’ of the house that faces the street. Facades from different architectural eras will have different aesthetic approaches.
The Upper FloorThis projects over the five-footway to form a covered pedestrian arcade.
The ColumnsLocated at the front of the building. They support the upper floors and form five-foot way colonnades.
The Five-FootwayThis provides pedestrians with a sheltered environment for passage away from the hot sun and torrential rain. This feature was mandated by Raffles since the first Town Plan for Singapore.
The RoofThe roof is usually of a ‘pitched’ construction on a timber structural frame and laid with natural coloured, unglazed V-profile terracotta roof tiles. Shophouses from the 1900s onwards tend to use natural coloured, unglazed flat-interlocking tiles (also commonly called ‘Marseilles’ tiles).

Source : URA