Conserving Colonial Heritage: Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Added on - Dec 2020

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British colonial architecture in Singapore:Raffles Hotel
TABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................................1COLONIAL CONTEXT.................................................................................................................1History of Singapore....................................................................................................................1Architecture of Singapore............................................................................................................2Raffles Hotel history....................................................................................................................2ARCHITECTURAL STYLE OF RAFFLES HOTEL....................................................................3How climate has impacted the conservation and style of architecture............................................5Climate change............................................................................................................................5Climate change impacting architecture.......................................................................................5HVAC system..............................................................................................................................7CONSERVATION........................................................................................................................11Conservation of cultural heritage...............................................................................................11Conservation in political context...............................................................................................12Conservation master plans.........................................................................................................13HERITAGE SOCIETY.................................................................................................................15Why is Venice biennale not relevant or is it relevant....................................................................16Venice biennale.........................................................................................................................16Venice biennale relevant or not.................................................................................................16Impact Venice biennale has on conservation.............................................................................17
INTRODUCTIONStarting from the time of 1496 when King Henry 7thof England succeed on the thrown ofPortugal and Spain exploration and exploitation of different countries of world started by rule ofBritain. The British Empire consist of territories, dominions and colonies ruled or managed byUK and its predecessors states which gained most domination between 16th-18thcenturies. Its ruleis regarded to as largest empire in the history for ruling more than half of world for over acentury (Lee, 2017). Till the time of 1913 British Empire had covered about 35,500,000 km2which is 245 of the total area of world, with 412 million people which is 23% of world’spopulation. This resulted into spread of culture, political, legal and linguistic legacy into wholeworld including to areas where its colonies was not there. This caused much of the increased inpopulation of Britain with dramatic rate, with having urbanisation at rapid rate and significantlycausing economic, social and political stress as well.COLONIAL CONTEXTWith the colonial power of England which was penetrating into different parts of worldwith rapidly growing and improving cultural and political effect. Most effect of British rule waslaid down on architectural style of different countries where they were ruling which is still thesame in parts of world. There were number of countries which were under the rule of BritishEmpire some of them are Afghanistan (1919), Australia (1901), Canada (1867), Egypt (1922),India (1947), Malaysia (1965) and many more. Colonial architecture is that style and type ofarchitecture which is incorporate from any mother country and building up colonise andsettlements in distant locations. These were very frequently built up in countries which are partor under rule of some other strong power country by designing characteristic of their new lands(Kusno, 2017). There are many types of colonial architecture within world like that of Spanish,Portuguese, British, French, Dutch and Italian.History of SingaporeFrom all these above British colonial architecture is most visible in countries like that inSouth Asia, North America, Far East and Australia. Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles FRSfounded Singapore and British Malaya in 1819 as the trading post of British East IndiaCompany. But rather its written history is date back to 3rdcentury. Singapore was ruled underParameswara was is regarded to as last king of country who was expelled by Majapahit in 14thcentury (Kothari, 2015). Then in 1511 Singapore was ruled by Johor Sultanate after which Sir1
Thomas came into treaty with Johor to allow British to locate trading port on island of Singaporewith this British colony was established in 1819. At the time of 2ndWorld War Singapore wasoccupied by Japan which from the period of 1942-1945. After this rule country was again takenover by British rule with increase of self-government granted and merging with Malaysia in 1963and got separated from Malaysia in 1965.Despite facing so many crisis and many time situation of unemployment countryembarked as beginning of modern program in late 1960 and early 1970. Till 1990 Singaporebecame world’s most prosperous nation with having highly developed free market economy withhaving linkage of trade and highest per capita income in Asia other than Japan (Luyt, 2017). Thecountry was lacking natural resources and hinterland but then also it managed to become AsianTiger Economy with its external trade. The country at present is the global hub of logistic,innovation, technology, finance, entertainment, healthcare, education, human capital, transportand travel-tourism.Architecture of SingaporeThe architecture of Singapore is also displaying wide range of influence and impact ofstyle from different places of world and from various periods as well. These include hybrid form,eclectic style, and traditional architecture, modern and colonial one as well. The whole city orSingapore was founded and planned by Sir Thomas Raffles in 1822 the layout which he designedis still surviving into present day Singapore. All the areas for government, commercial,education, religious buildings and ethnic communities were specified by him during planningwhich was taken place (Blair, 2017). Size of houses of people, widths of street and the type ofmaterial to be used everything was planned by him.The regulation of city was having its influence on the architecture buildings and itseffects are still to be seen in shop houses that were of 3 stories high and need to be obligatoryfive foot way. Raffles also opted the Malay style of house which was made of wood and atap.George Drumgoole Coleman responsible for European style buildings was one of the 1stwelltrained architect of Singapore.Raffles Hotel historyRaffles Hotel was founded in 1887 in Beach road Singapore by Sarkies Brothersestablished by Armenian hoteliers and named it after Sir Thomas Raffles who is regarded to asfounded of Singapore. The hotel is owned by AccorHotels is a French multinational hotel group2
and is Flagship property of Raffles Hotels and Resort which is international group of hotelsserving worldwide area (Cheer and Reeves, 2015). It was initially founded as the beach hotel in1830 and then was leased out to Emerson’s hotel in 1878 but soon after death of CharlesEmerson hotel was closed in 1883. But the lease of hotel expired in 1887 after which Rafflesinstitution taken over it in way of building up high ended hotel. after this on 1stDecember 188710 room Raffles hotel was opened its closeness to beach, providing higher quality and standardof service and satisfied customers from accommodation made the hotel more and more popular.After this the hotel began to see many new changes within like having 3 new buildings onhotel 2 of which were completed in 1890 having 22 rooms each. Then the 3rdbuilding was leasedon the nearby building and removed in 1894 the Palm Court Wing which totalled to 75 rooms.The new building built up in 1899 was constructed at the beach site giving the art for varioustimes including, electric lights and ceiling fans as well thus making Raffles hotel first hotelwithin the whole region to have these electric lights. Since this time hotel witnessed so manydifferent expansion and troubles like there was addition of ballroom, veranda and bar. But ratherin 1931 during time of Great Depression Sarkies Brothers announced the bankruptcy of hotel andfor this in 1933 Raffles Hotel Ltd. public company was founded for resolving these issues(MacKenzie, 2014). Raffles Hotel was declared to as National Monument by Government ofSingapore in 1987 it was first opened after a century in 1987.Then after 2 years in 1989 the hotel was again closed due to its restructuring, renovationand reconstruction for the cost £160 million which further took 2 years and it was reopened in1991 (Singapore's Raffles Hotel to change hands, 2018). Again in 2005 Raffles hotels werepurchased by Colony Capital LLC for worth $1.45 billion. Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund boughtthe hotel in 2010 for $275 million and additionally invested about $467 million into FRHI Hotels& Resorts so that they could be having 40% share into the chain of hotels. The Raffles hotel wasalso managed as working museum which displayed various works of artists who have sometimestayed within hotel like postcard, silver and china items, photographs and rare edition as well(Harding, 2018). In 2012 again Raffles Hotel Singapore was closed for the restoration planned tobe reopened in 2019.ARCHITECTURAL STYLE OF RAFFLES HOTELRaffles Hotel Singapore is one of the oldest hotel of country which is having the impactand influence of British colonisation history. there are number of facilities which hotel tend to3
provide both before and after renovation like that of tiffin rooms, restaurants, museum, bar,billiard room, spa, gardens, Victorian style theatre, shopping Arcade with 40+ stores and verandaas well (Raffles Singapore, 2018). It is regarded to as 1stmodern hotel of Singapore with havingelectric lights and fans within making it modern at that time. These changes in architecture arenot only witnessed by Raffles Hotel but also by others in country (Bueltmann and Robinson,2016). As before the rule of Britain in Singapore all houses were built in traditional Malayfashion that were made of foliage and wood but it is worth noticing that nothing has remained intoday’s time. Then under the rule of British colony the government of UK build up many historicbuilding with use of modern and European style of architecture like that of Neoclassical which isseen in Raffles hotel. World War 2ndthe hotel faced many change taking which was having theclean and simple construction material.It was included that Raffles is the only luxury hotels remained of the 19thcentury inSingapore that is at present undergoing restoration program that would continue till mid of nextyear 2019. This is to be taken into 3 different phrases starting from January 2017. During thisrenovation Raffles Hotel Arcade will be undergoing the restoration at first and rest area ofproperty could be operated and functioned as normal as they are. In mid of 2017 2ndphase wasstarted including renovation of areas like that of lobby, hotel suite and building of hotel as well.Then the final and 3rdphase was started in end of 2017 which includes close down of whole hotelpremises and remained close for mid of 2019 (Bueltmann and Robinson, 2016). The cocktail barof hotel is the invention site of world famous Singapore Sling which attracted many renownedliterary and artistic guest like that of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham. The renovationphase of hotel will be ensuring the retention of services, heritage, charm and ambiance of hotelwhich makes it very much important and special as well. This is done to keep track withchanging need, want and expectation of service of all guest and customers who are visiting andthis is also regarded to as factor of success for company.Raffle Hotel was acquired by Qatari Diar which is real estate section of Qatar Investmentauthority (QIA) for about $275 million. With the amount of $467 for the exchange of stake intohotel there is also $105 million for the hotel management which ended the deal to about $847million. After renovation hotel would be having about 103 rooms which will be under therefurbishment plan of the owners and 75 more rooms will be added further for enhancing itsleisure facilities and retail plan as well.4
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