The Golden Mile

Wedged between Beach Road and Nicoll Highway is a strip of land which was optimistically referred to as the "Golden Mile". It was planned for hight-rise housing, fronting the Kalland Basin in the mid 60s. Today, the name is synonymous with 2 buildings sited on this strip of land, Golden Mile Complex (5001 Beach Road) and Golden Mile Tower (6001 Beach Road).

The Golden Mile Complex, which draws resemblance to Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, was designed as a 16-storey structure to collectively accommodate diverse interests. The building is quite literally, divided into 3 main portions i.e. retail spaces, office spaces and residential units. The Beach Road facade reveals a textbook example of the Brutalist philosophy, 3 masses representing the different functional zones. These are sandwiched by 2 service cores on both ends. Golden Mile Complex is iconised by the terracing facade (seen on the Nicoll Highway facade). This terrace is functional. Residential units on the higher levels are designed further away from Nicoll Highway, noise from passing traffic is reduced. Affectionately known as Singapore's Little Thailand, the complex is a place of congregation for the local Thai community, bustling with eateries, pubs and shops.

Her next door neighbour; the lesser known and "slightly younger" Golden Mile Tower is a single structure amalgamating shops, cinemas, carparks and office spaces. Tower above podium arrangement is the staple of multiple-use projects, drawing clear boundary between public and private domain. The concrete facades exude a subtle statemnent - no sharp corners. Repetitive, visible structural elements were designed with rounded edges and finished with stucco coating. Offices of engineers and accountants filled up the tower. Numerous tour agencies are scattered around the podium and coaches ferrying tourists to West Malaysia constantly exert a stranglehold on Beach Road traffic.

These buildings are associated with terms like aged and dodgy and have fallen out of favour and into disrepair. In the shadow of costly, luxurious, flashy, kitsch theatres, gaming dens and sports field, these long forgotten heroic attempts of yesteryear deserved to be photographed.