So I was the first one to take part in the drawing of lots and with the possibilities of all the zones in Singapore, I was allocated with Thomson! My initial reaction was of course with great elation considering that I reside in Ang Mo Kio which really isn’t very far off from Thomson. It’s nearest MRT Station at the very start of Thomson Road happens to be Novena, a place that I frequent way too much as I make trips down to the Hospital almost once every week (no I’m not a doctor haha).
So I did up a little research on why it was named Thomson Road, I mean it could have been Benjamin Road right? (just kidding)
John Turnbull Thomson (b. 10 August 1821, Glororum, England–d. 16 October 1884, Invercargill, New Zealand) was the Government Surveyor of the Straits Settlements from 1841 to 1853. He made a number of important contributions during his 12 years in Singapore, including the creation of maps of early Singapore, as well as the design and construction of several buildings and other public infrastructure on the island.1His greatest achievement was probably the design and construction of the Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca.2 A self-taught artist and prolific writer, Thomson’s collection of paintings, books and articles now serve as invaluable records of the architecture and life of early Singapore.3
Source from Singapore Infopedia
AHA – MOMENT
In an instant, I knew I had to do Architecture considering that it was Sir John Turnbull Thomson’s effort and results which contributed to a certain extent in some way albeit probably not as huge of an impact as the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew but hell, having a road named after you probably means your contribution meant something yeah?
With that, I found my first focus for my first trip of this Neigborhood Explorer project.
Majority of the materials used in the architecture around this area of Thomson consisted of the above materials which are Blue tinted Mirror Glass, Timber and Concrete finish with different color of paint finish as their facade. This selection of materials spots a very modern look for an architecture in contrast with the other older buildings which was spotted a couple of streets down the long stretch of Thomson Road.
What a long way Singapore had come from planting trees all over Singapore, and in this age, we have many creative methods to provide a purposeful and aesthetically pleasing structure in this case, a vertical planting module which holds the flora which attract them faunas. This is a stark difference from what we can still find along, or rather will find a lot of along the Upper Thomson Road area where huge plots of land are still undeveloped and probably won’t be as those are protected areas and most probably used for the Army as the training ground purposes.
One of the older buildings around the modern building at the start of Thomson Road which stood out really obvious. These buildings consist mostly of concrete with paint finish and certain portion of the facade are painted with really tacky colors such as bright green, yellow and blue.
This Traditional Shop-houses were spotted with a lot of different cuisines…
… which stretches further down Thomson Road all the way to Upper Thomson Road which based on map reference, could possibly be the distance of Novena MRT to Yishun MRT as a gauge of how long a stretch Thomson really is.
The topic food also branches out to possibly a new focus for myself as I’ve asked around so often about what do they think of when Thomson is mentioned – FOOD.
This marks the start of my exploration around the residential area which range from terrace houses to really old HDB buildings. It was really quiet around this area around evening time even though people should be coming back from home by then.
As I delved further into the neighborhood of old Architectures which still doesn’t show much. By now, I was really unconvinced about doing things related to Architecture but I couldn’t let it go yet, so I sticked to my plan and explored further.
We could tell the huge difference between the older buildings as compared to the modern ones. There’s a stark difference between the two of them, in terms of colors, structure and aesthetics just as mentioned before, but it all aims to serve the same purpose – housing families.
On a side note, that right there (on top left) is really amazing, I wish I could go up there one day and see how it looks like and enjoy that spatial experience from that high up.
I’ve finally reached Thomson Flyover by this point and I spotted something really interesting that resides underneath this Flyover which happens to be a Futsal Court – a smaller pitch for football. There were families and their children playing a game of football which is always a nice thing to see. However, it was nothing helpful towards my Zine to be honest which was quite a bummer as I had lots of hope looking from the outside.
With a slew of old-school restaurants and buzzy new hipster joints, some of which are open round the clock, Thomson Village near Upper Thomson Road is a magnet for diners in the evenings and on weekends.
IN UPPER THOMSON
They don’t just park illegally and block your gate, but shout and disturb the residents late at night.
MR LEE, Thomson Ridge resident
But the area’s popularity has created parking and traffic problems, with multiple instances of illegal parking occurring regularly, and residents in nearby estates complaining about restaurant patrons who park in front of their gates and block their cars.
To prevent the situation from deteriorating, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has banned additional eateries from opening in shophouses in sections along Jalan Todak, Soo Chow Walk, Sin Ming Road and Shunfu Road, as well as Upper Thomson Road.