Typical of neo-classical vernacular-styled architecture, this two-storey bungalow has classical embellishments loosely incorporated into its symmetrical design. Large overhangs provide shelter from the sun and rain, while high ceilings and fixed ventilators above the windows allow for better internal air circulation.
Apart from its architecture, the building’s settings exude prestige. Set on a large, raised garden compound flanked by a wall, the site is accessed via wrought iron gates on top of a short but grand staircase. Tall pilasters (rectangular columns) complete the impressive look.
Cheong Koon Seng
The bungalow was once home to Cheong Koon Seng, a successful businessman in the auctioneering business. He started Cheong Koon Seng and Co with Mr Ong Hong Guan in 1920, and it became one of the leading auctioneering firms in Singapore at the time.
Cheong was a man of many interests, which was reflected in his many roles. He was president of the Chinese Swimming Club, the Chinese Association, the Singapore Funeral Association, the Straits Junior Association, the City Club and the Straits Hunting Party.
He was also involved in many other associations and clubs, and was a Justice of Peace for several years. He embarked on a round-the-world trip in 1932, and passed away shortly after in 1934. Koon Seng Road in Katong is named after him.
Ngee Ann Girls’ School
In an attempt to encourage education for girls, the site was converted into Ngee Ann Girls’ School by the Ngee Ann Kongsi in 1940. Despite closure during the Japanese Occupation, the school did well after its post-war reinstatement.
However, the resettlement programmes of the 1960s saw many families moving away from the area and into new public housing complexes. This led to a significant fall in enrolment although the school started accepting male students in 1967.
In 1980, the school changed its name to Ngee Ann Primary, as it continues to be known today. It was relocated to Temasek Primary School (located at Chai Chee along New Upper Changi Road before the school moved to its current location at Bedok South) for two years while waiting for its current premises at Marine Parade to be constructed.
Teo Yeonh Huai Kuan
The site currently houses Teo Yeonh Huai Kuan and the pre-school, Montessori Place of Learning. The former is a Teo Chew clan association that looks after the Chao Yang community in Singapore, which moved into the building in 1988.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.SG are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.SG does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of August 2019 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.