September 6, 2016

Singapore's Heritage, Ellison Building affected by Tunnelling Works - Watercolor Plein Air

Ellison Building is a heritage site that has been gazetted by URA as a conservation structure and has been so for many years, until news broke that 3 units of it will be torn down for the North-South Corridor tunnelling works. LTA said that the affected units will be reconstructed and reinstated once construction of the tunnel is completed in 2026, 10 years from now. The Singapore Heritage Society reported that it was "deeply disappointed" by the decision made. According to Straits Times, "the society said reconstruction typically results in simplification of a structure's original architectural features. It wants other options explored, and called for heritage impact assessments to be carried out, for this report to be made public and for consultation." (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/tunnel-works-to-affect-heritage-building).

Many artists in Singapore have painted Ellison Building and are still doing so. I did a sketch on Strathmore 400 Watercolor series in 2013 when I was exploring the location with some other urban sketchers.
 
What I wrote about the building in a post on Urbansketchers.org -
Selegie Road, Ellison Building - built in 1924 - characterized by its curved facade and a pair of cupolas, one on each end.

From the URA website- "Of historical note is its central pediment which carries the name of the original Jewish owner, a Star of David and its year of construction. It stands out as a local landmark and as a piece of historical evidence of Singapore's pre-WW2 Jewish urban community in the Mt Sophia/Selegie area."

A search on Google found another post on the Urbansketchers blog. It was the 33rd Sketchcrawl event held at that location in Oct 15 2011. (http://www.urbansketchers.org/2011/10/sketchcrawl-33rd-at-selegie-road.html). There were 8 sketchers and we were sketching and painting the building in our own way and approach. 

2011 Sketchcrawl
2011 Sketchcrawl -2
I have been going back to paint the building. This was done on Arches paper measuring 15" X 22" with Watercolor in 2014.
I think with the news, the building and the location will see more visitors and sketchers and painters very soon. Just recently, there was a urban sketching event held in the month of July 2016. I wasn't there but I went on my own with another friend the week after. It was however a very rainy and wet day. Fortunately we had shelter, painting from Albert Court Hotel on the opposite side. The rain stopped when we finished painting. The results here:
Here's a close-up of a ink & watercolour painting done on a sketchbook (Bockinford watercolour paper).

We went to the back of the building for a drink and sketched a gigantic banyan tree beside the REX theatre. For now this tree is safe from destruction and hopefully will stay that way.