The Cathay Building

Back in New York City, we were blessed to live in one of the city’s many Art Deco apartment buildings. On my way to and from work, I would pass the WPA-era mural in the lobby. Our apartment had original parquet floors, light fixtures, and switch plates.

Singapore has quite a bit of well-preserved Art Deco architecture, dating mainly from the 1920s and 1930s, and I smile when I see a familiar line, curve, or pattern. Glimpses of Art Deco in this city remind me of my home on the other side of the world.

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The sixteen-story Cathay Building, Singapore’s first skyscraper, housed a cinema, luxury apartments, fancy restaurants, and a hotel. Back in its heyday, it was the place for well-heeled movie-goers to catch the latest Hollywood and Hong Kong films.

While the main structure of the Cathay Building was demolished, the original Art Deco façade remains. The Cathay, a cimena hall/shopping mall/serviced apartment complex, currently occupies the location.

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Previously blogged: Singapore Shophouses, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. Next on my Art Deco jaunt around Singapore? Kallang Airport.

(Additional credits: Tape strip clip art via Pugly Pixel.)

3 responses

  1. The old Cathay Building, now demolished, actually has great historical significance as well as an eerie past – it was used as the Japanese army HQ during WWII, and there are myriad stories of the civilian torture that occurred there.

    Sadly, even after it was refurbished and converted into an office building later on, the building was never able to escape its past and stories of ghostly sightings there abound. My mom worked there for many years, and despite being a skeptic, has a slew of fairly hair-raising tales…

    It’s worth a Google search!

  2. Have you also seen the Art Deco building in Bugis (I want to say it’s called Park City or something like this)? Every time I pass it, it reminds me of Gotham City!

  3. Parkview Square isn’t a *real* Art Deco building. It was completed in 2002! According to Wikipedia, it was “designed in the classic Art Deco style, following New York City 1929 Chanin Building as an inspiration.”