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Restoring buildings to their former glory

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Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and The Warehouse Hotel are winners

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and The Warehouse Hotel picked up this year's Architectural Heritage Awards yesterday.

The honours, conferred by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), recognise the high standard of restoration work done on the two buildings.

The Red House received a special mention for retaining a familiar social memory of the Katong landmark through its use as a local cafe.

The URA said the winners have gone the extra mile, delving into the history and stories behind the buildings.

Their heritage is also kept alive through storytelling methods such as on-site storyboards and a heritage gallery.

"The teams managed to capture the value of (the) buildings' past and make them relevant to the wider public in the modern context," the URA added.

Winning the award for restoration of The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd - Singapore's oldest Catholic church, which was built in 1847 on Queen Street - is a team that includes the building's owner, the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore, the legal entity of the Catholic Church here.

Others in the team are architectural firm Architects 61, engineering firm ECAS Consultants, contractor Shanghai Chong Kee Furniture & Construction, and architectural conservation specialist consultancy Studio Lapis.

The awards assessment committee noted that many of the cathedral's original architectural elements have been successfully reinstated, such as the chequerboard floor tiles and the distinctive pipe organ.

The team behind The Warehouse Hotel, a former godown along the Singapore River, won the award for restoration and innovation.

Consisting of building owner I Hotel, architecture studio Zarch Collaboratives, engineering company JS Tan Consultants and contractor Towner Construction, the team was praised by URA for bringing out the heritage of the warehouse and the Singapore River, while adapting the building to its new use as a boutique hotel.

I Hotel's sole director, Mr Cheong Keng Hooi, 64, said: "In my younger days, I walked by this building and always found its architecture to be interesting and worth preserving."

The Red House, an integrated development of 42 residential units, five shophouses, and a bakery-cafe, at the former Red House Bakery site, received special mention for re-establishing some memorable elements of Katong's heritage.

URA said: "Besides keeping the iconic red colour of the building, the owners deliberately set out to source for a new tenant who operates the same nature of business - a local cafe."