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City stories: Rochor Centre

We take one last look at the iconic blocks of flats before they make way for the North-South Corridor. Photography by Stephanie Loh

Rochor Centre
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Goodbye, yellow-bricked HDB flat. Soon, the iconic Rochor Centre – in red, blue and green stripes, too – will be another casualty claimed in the name of development. From its ashes will rise the North-South Corridor, a 21.5-kilometre expressway slated for construction in 2017 that will have a dedicated lane for express buses as well as pedestrian and cycling paths. Touché, LTA.

Built in 1977, Rochor Centre was originally white with red bricks – it was painted over during upgrading works in the early ’90s – and comprises both residential and commercial properties. Apartments stack atop three storeys of kopitiams, offices and heartland-esque stores that hawk hardware, handphone accessories and traditional confectionary. And in a rare feature in today’s HDB estates, Rochor Centre’s ‘void deck’ can be found on the fourth level, similar to the one in Bras Basah Complex.

Before Rochor Centre breathes its last, head over to capture these vibrant blocks on camera. Go late in the afternoon for the best light – and set aside a few minutes to grab a bench on the ground floor to watch residents bustling around. If you’re keen to explore deeper into the estate, make your way to the void deck at Block 4. There, you can view Community Quilts, a photography project by Ivan Tan, Juliana Tan and Samuel He. It’s a series of eight vertical panels, each a superimposition of three to four photographs, depicting various neighbourhoods and everyday scenes of city life. 

RIP, Rochor.

Rochor Centre is at 1 Rochor Rd.

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