5 hours ago
This is the famous Sky Habitat designed by Moshe Safdie, built in the Bishan region of Singapore. But today I will not talk about this building. I will talk about the land that it is built on. The region of Bishan which translates to ‘Jade Hills’ was not always a housing area with high towers as it is today.
This land was once called Peck San theng, and it was a cemetery. It had huge and ornate tombs that could be up to thirty meters wide. A single-family tomb like that could easily be bigger than a three-bedroom HDB apartment today. Also it was not just a place for the dead. It was in fact, a cemetery full of life. An active graveyard meant there were jobs to be had. Graves had to be dug, tombstones carved, refreshments sold to mourners, so people built thatched roof homes right there among the graves. The living just lived alongside the dead.
After WWII Singapore had to build mass houses to house the huge population it had, and because it is such a small island, all available land was covered fast. In 1973, the government said there’d be no more ground burial at over 70 cemeteries, including Peck San Theng.
Not everyone was happy, but after the war and the nation’s independence, people acknowledged that burying people in big graves just wasn’t sustainable on a tiny island. Today this region is called Bishan and it houses thousands of people, many of whom do not even know the history of this place. To know the whole story follow @99percentinvisible
The picture is clicked by @teschtrent
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