The most anticipated festive season is finally here! What better way to set the mood than by heading over to Orchard Road to catch a glimpse of the dazzling Christmas light up.

Apart from being lured by ongoing store sales, why not try to spot these buildings in town and let the inner curiosity in you run for a tad bit.

You may even frequent these buildings but here’s some extra trivia for you to lookout for!

Macdonald House

While Xmas shopping, try to spot these buildings!
The Macdonald House PHOTO: Straits Times

The kid in me always thought The Macdonald House located in the vicinity of Dhoby Ghaut was named after the fast-food chain, Macdonalds. Whilst passing by it, I would even try searching for Ronald MacDonald, but he’s nowhere to be found.

In actual fact, the building was named after Malcolm John Macdonald, the governer of General Malaya and commissioner-general of Southeast Asia for the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC). Initially, the building was occupied solely by HSBC but is currently a co-working office space.

Similar to that of New York City’s world trade centre, The Macdonald House became a target for terrorists during the Indonesian Konfrontasi in 1965 where it suffered one of Singapore’s worst terrorist bomb attacks.

The next time you’re making your way from Dhoby Ghaut, try to look out for this red brick facade building that stands for more than five decades and snap a shot!

The Cathay

While Xmas shopping, try to spot these buildings!
The Cathay Singapore PHOTO: Cathay cineplex

Many would drop by The Cathay only for its cinema but as a matter of fact, beneath its modern glass exterior lies a storied past.

The 17-storey building comprising of a cinema, a mall and apartment was once Singapore’s tallest skyscraper which housed the city-state’s first air-conditioned cinema. During World War II, it morphed into an air-raid centre and later a Japanese propaganda broadcast station for its high-rise radar.

Today, only the frontal facade of The Cathay remains and sets as a constant reminder of the former Cathay Building’s avant-garde architecture.

Many of the stores in the mall have closed down post-covid but do drop by and support the remaining retailers.

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House of Tan Yeok Nee

While Xmas shopping, try to spot these buildings!
House of Tan Yeok Yee

Located at Penang Road, whilst making your way towards Somerset, keep a lookout for the last remaining Teochew mansion in Singapore. Despite being restored over the years, as much so, it’s similar to that lived by the prominent Teochew merchant, Tan Yeok Yee and his family.

Today, the mansion is home to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) facility and the Amity Global Institute which offers Diploma and Degree courses. Well, we must say they are a lucky batch of students to be able to study in a building that’s rooted in history and heritage.

Tucked away from the bustle of the busy Orchard Road, feel free to pop in for a visit for a quick escape and imagine you are on holiday to ancient China.

Ngee Ann City

While Xmas shopping, try to spot these buildings!
Ngee Ann City

Whilst walking along Orchard Road, many would recognise Ngee Ann City as an old looking mall amongst the other luxurious malls. If you paid a little attention to its architectural facade, you would notice that the mall was resembled a tombstone. Once stood a Teochew cemetery ground in the 1940s, the architect designed it that way in remembrance of those buried there.

Aside from that, the five flagpoles that stand in the front marks as joss sticks while the fountain acts as a wine-offering to roaming spirits.

We hope we did not spook you out too much but perhaps the next time you are in town, take a wide-eye glance of the building from afar.

Tangs Plaza

While Xmas shopping, try to spot these buildings!
Tangs Plaza

“Uncle, go C.K. Tang please.” That leaves the youths of today wondering why the pioneers call it that instead of TANGS plaza.

Named after the founder Tang Choon Keng, back in the day, the building front was named “C.K. Tang” up till the year 2000.

Modeled after the palaces in Forbidden City, the building is influenced by traditional chinese culture and beliefs.

Diving into the details of its colour scheme – its green roof tiles symbolises the notion of growth and prosperity, the yellow facade signifying royalty, and the red columns representing happiness.

The octoganal designs across the building goes after the fengshui belief that the number eight implies prosperity.

Now that we have broken down its colour and design choice, its time for you to get a closer look into its details while you are shopping!

It’s the little hidden details that we have often overlooked but now that we have created a little trivia on these buildings, time to dive into a closer look on your next shopping trip to Orchard Road.

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