Built by a Jewish Merchant in 1928

I walk the streets of Singapore, each time when I’m back, with a different feel these days. I try not to take anything for granted. So when I saw the David Elias Building, I stopped, I observed, I approached…

David Elias Building

Note the significant Star of David at the top and along its sides. Built by Mr Elias, a Jewish merchant, in 1928 to house his trading company it just emits vibes of history.  It stands at the the junction of 2 main roads indicating a prime location.

The tallest point of its façade.

With the intermingling of races & religions over the years, I think ownership and tenancy has played a significant role in little addition(s) to this conserved historical building. From my brief observation, it shows ~ very subtly. I wish I had a reason/excuse to explore its interior but alas … 😦

Little mirrors attached.

Mirrors outside a building, placed in strategic locations, are used to deflect “poison arrows” in Feng Shui… other buildings’ pointed corners, roof edges, broken walls, etc., so this indicates a Chinese Feng Shui believer owns/rents some or all of this building now.

Down on the ground level, what else can there be but a food shop/eatery for us Singaporean food lovers.

Dual purpose blinds – block sun’s rays & advertise.

Hungry me needed a late lunch so head that way I did.

Award winning Hainanese Chicken Rice

Award deserving – absolutely delicious!

So simple yet so tasty… tender chicken with rice cooked in sesame oil, garlic cloves & chicken broth (here’s a Recipe in case of interest/curiosity), plus chili-garlic sauce and fried ginger in oil.

OK, because of this dish which I’ve enjoyed since childhood, this post has gone astray somewhat…  back to this building with a history. Below is an informative brief write-up from the Singapore National Library’s Infopedia regarding this old interesting building.

Key features
David Elias Building was built in 1928 by Jewish merchant David Elias to house his trading company. The architect firm Swan & Maclaren was commissioned to design the building, and its three-storey “stripped” neoclassical style was popular during the 1920s. At the point where the facade joins the roof, the concrete slab projects strongly and serves as both cornices and eaves to the roof. The roof is high-pitched and broad and the cantilevered bay windows are two storeys high. Various Stars of David can be found on the building’s facade as bas-relief decorations. The building is said to dominate the area’s landscape, yet lending dignity to the street with its visual effect.3 It houses rooms and business offices for rent, shops of local merchants, eateries as well as offices of D. J. Elias & Company.4

The David Elias Building was gazetted for conservation in 1994.5

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja


One response to “Built by a Jewish Merchant in 1928

  1. Pingback: On This Little Street in Singapore … | Temasek Garden

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