Redevelopment of Sembawang Shipyard

by | Dec 12, 2022

Redevelopment of Sembawang Shipyard


Some locations having ties to Singapore’s colonial past get investigated as part of a historical plan that will guide future developments. The Heritage and Identity Structure Plan, as it is also known, was created as part of a review of Singapore’s long-term land use plans for the ensuing fifty years and beyond.

On Monday, June 6, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released information about both plans, including the 19 historic areas getting researched for the heritage and identity plan.

These locations contain several concentrations of former government housing, including Hooper Road and Halifax Road near Newton, Goodwood Hill adjacent to Stevens Road, and Malcolm Park close to Whitley Road.

Along with locations already chosen for heritage studies, like Mount Pleasant and the former Turf Club in Bukit Timah, other places of military and wartime significance, like Paya Lebar Air Base and Kent Ridge, are also included on the list.

The heritage plan “will direct efforts to conserve, protect, and enhance Singapore’s heritage assets, including in the heartland and at iconic streets,” according to URA. The nearby walking, cycling, and transit networks will be improved, making these locations more accessible.

A number of the study sites already have development plans announced. For instance, Sembawang Shipyard will be one of the shipyards owned by Sembcorp Marine that moves under one roof in Tuas by 2024, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2013 statement.

Intro 6

History Of Sembawang

Sembawang is a neighborhood in Singapore’s north bordered north and south by the Straits of Johor and Mandai, respectively.

Sembawang served as a British naval outpost and a Nee Soon Rubber farm during the colonial era. The Singaporean government received the naval base from the British in 1968.

Since then, the naval station has undergone modifications for military use and, as of 1992, doubles as a port-of-call and the American military’s command. Sembawang has changed since 1996 into Sembawang New Town, a lively yet rustic housing estate designed to accommodate Singapore’s growing population. As part of the Woodlands MRT Extension, Sembawang MRT station currently provides service to housing developments.

What Exists in Sembawang

Sembawang has several lifestyle amenities that will appeal to young and old individuals while being a relatively new housing development. Sun Plaza, adjacent to Sembawang MRT station, is at the estate’s center. The recently renovated mall has more than 170 retailers with a range of dining, entertainment, and banking options under one roof. NTUC Fairprice and McDonald’s are two of its anchor tenants.

Sembawang Mart, which includes a wet market, supermarket, food court, and retail stores, is located farther down Bukit Canberra Road. Sembawang Mart, upgraded in October 2010, also provides daycare, kindergarten, and educational facilities.

Sembawang has a rich history as a former plantation estate and British naval post, which makes it a wonderful place to live because it exudes a rich blend of the old and the new. Sembawang Park, which bears the same name as the tree after which it gets named, is open for exploration. A haven for nature enthusiasts, the park was created in the 1970s and is rich in animal, plant, and bird species. In addition, you can go camping or spend the day at the kid-friendly playground while exploring one of Singapore’s natural beaches.

Look no further than the Neo-Classical bungalow Beaulieu House, a preserved structure that serves Western cuisine, Chinese seafood, and regional specialties, for lifestyle options and a little history. The Urban Redevelopment Authority gave Beaulieu House, situated inside the park, a protected status in 2005.

Admiralty House, which today serves as a private school, is another charming feature in this area. The Commodore Superintendent of the Royal Navy Dockyard previously resided in this villa with an English cottage appearance on Old Nelson Road, constructed in 1939. In 2002, Admiralty House received national monument status.

Sembawang within the next ten years

According to the Sembawang Master Plan 2018, Sembawang will get a lively neighborhood with a new MRT station, an Integrated Transport Hub corridor, integrated hub, new housing estates, and employment possibilities nearby.

At the end of 2019, the Canberra MRT station, situated between the Sembawang and Yishun MRT stations, will open and provide access to the rest of the island using the North-South Corridor MRT Line. The Canberra Plaza will open right next to it at the same time. As a “New Generation Neighbourhood Center,” Canberra Plaza will be created as an urban jungle featuring spots for gardening, hiking trails, and a water play area for the enjoyment of locals of all ages. Additionally, a variety of access to amenities will be available.

Residents can look forward to more fascinating facilities in 2020 when the Sembawang integrated hub opens. It will be known as Bukit Canberra and include a hawker center, indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, and a polyclinic. And a senior care facility, green spaces for community farming, and lifestyle-related amenities for the enjoyment of the entire community.

The Regeneration Machine

The idea challenges Singapore’s claim to be a “city in a garden.” Due to the island’s lack of available land and the conflicting spatial demands of rapid population growth and development, Singapore’s coastal profile ecosystems have served as a repository for the island’s polluting and ugly industrial spaces. The fragmentation and destruction of natural coastal systems by the industrialized coastlines.

Sembawang Shipyard gets listed as a location in the plan. Human actions have turned the naturally varied mangrove and wetland environment into an industrialized landscape. The shipyard will likely get renovated as part of the Northern Innovation Corridor by 2024.

Development techniques, such as “Green” and “Sustainable” design, are insufficient because human growth gets frequently thought of as autonomous from nature. As a result, the potential improvement in =overall sustainability and resilience of all systems gets not reached. In the quest for general sustainability and system resiliency, this, along with the site’s rich and complex history, raises an essential contextual issue. The site’s rich history as a shipyard or its original natural state is both significant and valuable, but which is more so

The plan addresses the apparent gap between human activity and nature to establish some balance between the difficulty of rehabilitating the environmental state while preserving the site’s maritime history.

The Regeneration Machine, located inside one of the Dry-docks, serves as a regenerative catalyst that improves the site’s ecological health and a colossal reminder of the site’s nautical history. The Regeneration Machine is a ship modified to function as an Ecological infrastructure. It reimagines urban wastewater as a renewable resource for the production of food fish for nutrition and the cultivation of mangroves for the rehabilitation of the devastated shoreline.

The Regeneration Machine

Sembawang Shipyard

Sembawang Shipyard would move under one roof in Tuas by 2024, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong‘s 2013 statement.

It frees up the location, which was once a British naval facility and currently houses a small British defense unit, to transform into a waterfront lifestyle zone with many public spaces, according to URA in 2019. Then it gets added that the area could have mixed-use developments added with the possibility of repurposing existing buildings.

The only structure within the shipyard to have received protection is the former Sembawang Fire Station, preserved in April 2007. The heritage study would assist planners in determining which other vital structures to keep.

National monuments, conservation areas, designated historic sites, identity nodes, identity corridors, Housing Board towns, and urban design zones are the additional sites and elements identified in the complete legacy plan.

More information about the URA’s new identity corridor initiative, which will link neighborhoods with distinctive streetscapes and rich historical history, was also presented. There will be five such corridors.

As “urban design zones,” the plan has been expanded to encompass relatively recent urbanized areas, such as the under-construction Punggol Digital District.

The authorities’ guidelines will guarantee that any new construction in these locations blends in with the neighborhood’s current structure to maintain the area’s urban character.

In addition to preserving the buildings that make up Singapore’s constructed heritage, URA stated that it plans to work on bringing back memories of the past via various techniques, including storyboards and trails.

“We will continue to consult widely to consider different perspectives in shaping areas rich in heritage and identity,” it read.

Sembawang Shipyard builds on the history of cruises.

As part of a lengthy history of work on cruise ships at the shipyard, Sembcorp Marine’s Sembawang Shipyard won a contract in October to upgrade Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess.

The yard has Diamond Princess to arrive on March 12, 2014. The award “reinforces Sembawang Shipyard’s position as one of the world’s premier shipyards and Asia’s number one shipyard for cruise ship upgrading and repairs,” according to a statement from Sembcorp Marine.

The contract gets given out soon after the yard completed the retrofit of Sun Princess, a different Princess Cruises ship, which benefited from a US$30 million upgrade during a two-week drydock in August.

In a statement, Princess Cruises’ senior vice president for technical developments, John Gunner, praised the yard’s commitment and dedication. Say that its staff had collaborated closely with the company’s team to finish the work on schedule and to the high quality, health, safety, and environmental standards that the company demands for all Princess dockings. He explicitly said that the follow-up contract’s confirmation gets impacted by this effort. We are happy to award Sembawang Shipyard the upgrade of Diamond Princess, he continued.

A new atrium and dining areas, a spa renovated, new interior furniture, new hull paint, and external renovations were all part of the Sun Princess’ makeover. As this issue of Marine Propulsion went to press, the Diamond Princess’s work schedule was still a secret.

A Favoured Customer Contract (FCC) gets signed by Sembawang and Princess Cruises’ parent company, Carnival Corp., at the same time as this subsequent work was placed, turning Princess Cruises into a long-term partner of the yard. According to Mr. Gunner, “We look forward to a good partnership in the years to come, which will enhance the results of our docking and revitalization program.”

The Carnival and FCC

The agreement Carnival has with the yard is not unique. For instance, the yard and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) reached a comparable FCC agreement in December 2012 for the ship repair provision, revitalization, upgrading, and related marine services for the latter’s fleet of 41 cruise ships across all of its operating businesses. These include CDF Croisières de France, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, and Azamara Cruises.

The FCCs go beyond merely promising to assign labor to the yard. To manage a project’s logistics, quality, cost-efficiency, and on-time deliveries while achieving health, safety, and environmental standards, they also encourage joint planning, information sharing, and experience sharing among the partners. These latter are critical performance indicators by the yard for high-caliber cruise vessel repair.

Kevin Douglas, vice president of technical projects and new construction for RCCL, made a similar argument to Mr. Gunner of Princess Cruises. The shipyard had completed significant work on Rhapsody of the Seas, which Mr. Douglas characterized as a pleasant experience. He said that this, together with the team’s devotion and dedication, “convinced Royal Caribbean that we have found the ideal long-term partner.”

About Sembawang Shipyard

Sembawang has undoubtedly worked in this field for a long time. It has upgraded and restored more than 150 passenger ships since the 1970s. Wong Lee-Lin, the yard’s executive director, claimed that the workforce had the necessary attitude, education, and expertise to deliver cruise ships on schedule and with strict quality, health, environmental, and safety regulations.

Sembawang was a standalone yard for most of that time but subsequently joined Sembcorp with the company establishment in 1998. The organization decided on the particular markets it would concentrate on while leaving others at the outset. One such niche gets identified as cruise.

It laid out its long-term objectives in 2000, one of which was to concentrate on the high-end repair market. Sembcorp laid out its plan in response to the anticipated competition from yards in Singapore and other countries region. To focus on vessels “where the scope of work was more complicated and quality and quick turnaround time were crucial concerns to vessel owners,” Candidates for this type of employment are cruise ships.

Sembawang is a member of Sembcorp’s marine group, which has a network of six shipyards in Singapore: Jurong Shipyard, SMOE, PPL Shipyard, Jurong SML, and the firm’s 73.3-ha Integrated New Yard, which debuted in August 2013. Additionally, the group is present in Indonesia, China, India, the UK, and Brazil.

New developments in history-rich Sembawang share space with nature

Sembawang, Singapore’s most northern planning district, is frequently disregarded by residents because it is a young residential development. This lush neighborhood of Singapore gets highlighted by revitalization initiatives, and the recent construction of the Canberra residential complex has given it new vitality.

The region Now known as Sembawang was primarily plantation land, much like the majority of Singapore island’s areas that were not colonised and urbanised by the British in the 19th century. According to HDB, the region gets named after a Southeast Asian riverine species of tree that grew there called pokok Sembawang. In Sembawang Park, these trees are still present.

The region gets mentioned in the 1822 Raffles Town Plan, a blueprint of urban growth, and by the early 20th century, the Nee Soon Rubber Estate get established there. Further urban development near Sembawang gets progressively sparked by the British construction of the Singapore Naval Base in 1983. It gets changed in 1968 to become Sembawang Shipyard, a for-profit dockyard.

You can still see evidence of the area’s maritime past everywhere. The names of Sembawang’s main streets get inspired by a wide variety of warships and dockyards. It keeps the neighborhood’s connection to the former British naval facility fresh in everyone’s mind. Admiralty Road West and Admiralty Road East are the two most noticeable roads.

They get named after a sizable floating drydock. Other notable roads include Canberra Link, Wellington Circle, Montreal Drive, Queens Avenue, Gibraltar Crescent, and Cyprus Road, which honor Singapore’s historical ties to the rest of the British Commonwealth.

Natural gifts from the north

Wak Hassan Beach at Sembawang Park is one of the last remaining natural beaches in the nation due to extensive land reclamation that has taken place around Singapore over the years. Even though most of the wetlands and primary forests that once covered the area get destroyed to make room for the shipyard and housing complexes, this northern section of Singapore connects a substantial portion of the relatively undisturbed environment.

The relatively new Canberra estate, composed of the Sembawang Springs and Sembawang East planning subzones, has witnessed new construction. Thus, the area surrounding Canberra borders the Simpang planning area, which is still a reserve site, and the protected Mandai catchment area.

The Khatib Bongsu Nature Park, which spans from Sungei Simpang Kiri in Sembawang to the mouth of the Lower Seletar Reservoir along Singapore’s north shore, is one of the country’s largest undeveloped nature reserves.

This inaccessible patch of mangrove swamp and forest is a network of lagoons and canals created by nature. Recreational kayakers who want to explore the mangrove-rich ecology and canopy-lined heated water ways are attracted to this enticing nature reserve area, making it a popular vacation spot.

The Canberra region is one of Singapore’s most distinctive neighborhoods since it is close to green spaces and lush foliage while getting highly free of the intense urbanization in other senior housing complexes.

The Sembawang Hot Spring Park, which lies off Gambas Avenue and is close to Canberra, is one of the most well-liked green spaces. In January 2020, the natural hot spring was cleaned up and reopened. It has brand-new cascading pools, a water collection station with improved accessibility, and informational panels for guests to learn about the geography and history of the region.

The developed rural setting attempts to resemble what a kampong could have looked like in the 1960s. It also has naturalized streams that emerge from the hot spring and reach freshwater swampland terrain, fruit trees, edible plants, and flowers.

Heritage places

The Canberra region has several historical ties to the nearby Yishun estate of its lush natural charms. Before moving northward toward Sungei Sembawang during the colonial era, numerous gambier and pepper plantations began in Yishun along the Seletar River.

Chong Pang City is the oldest community spaces hub in Yishun. It gets named after a Chinese entrepreneur and pioneer of the theme of Lim Chong Pang, and Chong Pang Village was a former village close to Sembawang MRT Station.

When it opened in Yishun New Town in1984, Chong Pang City was among the first neighborhood centers. The Chong Pang City Merchant and Hawker’s Association gets founded by most of the initial store owners who had previously lived in surrounding displaced villages.

The two Chinese-style gateways at the marketplace’s two entrances, next to Blocks 105 and 104 of Yishun Ring Road, are a recognizable landmark of Chong Pang City.

In particular, the “black and white” colonial-era bungalows that the British constructed during the 1920s and 1930s get enhanced by the British naval establishment presence in Sembawang. Most of these bungalows are found off Sembawang Road on streets with names derived from Commonwealth names, locations, and nations. These include Cyprus Road, Gibraltar Crescent, Queen’s Avenue, Wellington Circle, Montreal Drive, and Canberra Link.

Commonwealth personnel at the Naval Base and surrounding military stations at the time get accommodated in these bungalows. Most bungalows constructed during the final phase of “black and white” architecture, prevalent in colonial Singapore from the 1900s to the 1930s, are located in Sembawang and Canberra.

New Town Canberra

Due to the 2019 opening of the Canberra MRT Station, Canberra has attracted numerous public and private residential projects during the previous few years. A new housing estate in Canberra can now beget developed thanks to the additional station added between Sembawang and Yishun MRT Stations.

The neighborhood gets supported by new public facilities to accommodate the expanding population. For instance, HDB constructed Canberra Plaza, a neighborhood Sembawang Shopping Centre connected to Canberra MRT Station. In addition to a covered ground floor area for community recreational activities and events, the complex contains three – commercial spaces supermarket and a food court.

The Watergardens at Canberra, a 448-unit condo complex on Canberra Drive, is the area’s first privately owned residential developments to open for previews. UOL Group, Singapore Land, and Kheng Leong Co. are partners in a joint venture on the project. After making the highest bid of $270.2 million ($650 psf per plot ratio), the JV gets chosen to receive the Government Land Sale site in March of last year.

The project’s launch gets delayed due to the return to Phase Two after the developers previewed the development in July to start it by the end of the month.

The Watergardens at Canberra’s entry into the embryonic residential Canberra market indicates that investors and homebuyers are eager to capitalize on the region’s economic potential. The Watergardens at Canberra’s price point at the time of its preview gets set by the developers to begin at roughly $1,382 per square foot.

Much history along the trail.

Numerous sites along the Sembawang Heritage Trail provide insight into the neighborhood’s past. The locations will be fascinating, particularly for individuals interested in architecture, as they display many architectural trends. Gibraltar Crescent, Cyprus Road, and Admiralty Road East are a few locations to stop by to witness this.

Gibraltar Crescent

A remnant of Singapore’s colonial past, Gibraltar Crescent is home to some of the city’s oldest black-and-white homes. There are many accommodation options as well as bunkers, which the navy personnel needed. These houses have a distinctive architectural style with dark timber frames and white plastered walls reminiscent of Malay and Anglo-Indian styles. Because they get used as temporary housing, especially for engineers, these homes were composed of wood.

They differ from traditional houses in that they are often raised off the ground, have extended verandas, and have roofs with overhanging eaves that allow for additional ventilation and cool the interiors.

Because engineers from Sir John Jackson Limited lived there, the homes along Gibraltar Crescent get referred to as the Jacksons. They weren’t single-family homes; they were community areas.

A single-story house not lifted off the ground like the other black-and-white homes gets built to replace one of these homes destroyed during World War II. It gets later referred to as the Japanese Theatre or Dockyard Theatre (the rumor that the Japanese screened propaganda in this theatre during their occupation). Plays get performed there, and after the war, it found new life as a multipurpose hall for badminton matches and musical acts.

While strolling through Gibraltar Crescent, we can take in the surrounding area’s lush and dense trees and the colonial homes that stand out from modern construction. Gibraltar Crescent’s serenity is a pleasant respite from the commotion of daily life.

Cyprus Road

The homes on Cyprus Road get constructed following World War Two to accommodate the growth of European (as opposed to British) workers at the naval base.

The homes get constructed in the Art Deco architectural style, which rose to prominence in the United States and Europe during the Jazz Age and included sun blockers around the windows. Cyprus Road gets encircled by thick vegetation similar to Gibraltar Crescent, and tranquility reigns.

Admiralty Road East

Following your examination of the residences along these streets, take a stroll down Admiralty Road East to find the buildings constructed for the navy’s charge. As seen by their red brick facades that are partially exposed, the Arts and Crafts Movement affected their architectural design.

The Sembawang Shipyard, presently known as Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard, can be found at Canberra Park Road if you continue walking down the street. More information about the shipyard’s past is available, including its time serving as a dockyard for the British navy and how the Singaporean government modernized and commercialized it after acquiring ownership of the facility after the British left.

The Sembawang neighborhoods

Coastal kampongs

The naval facility and coastal kampongs were both located in Sembawang (Malay for villages). Numerous cultures were present across the entire neighborhood. While some, like the Orang Seletar, were local Singaporeans, others had immigrated for employment at the naval installation there. Several establishments were created, including places of worship for various religions, one of which is still in existence to serve the requirements of the communities.

Sembawang’s kampongs are no longer in existence, but one remnant remains: In Kampong Tengah, Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, which is no longer standing, gets inaugurated in 1963. Residents of Kampong raised money from one another and the Lee family to construct it.

Kampong Residents raised money through fundraising and received grants from the Lee Foundation. In addition to being a place of worship, the mosque served the neighborhood as a gathering place for festivals and significant announcements. The oldest rubber tree still standing in Singapore may be located on the mosque’s grounds.

Sembawang Strip

From there, you can descend to Sembawang Strip, a strip of shophouses where most establishments are restaurants and pubs. Especially for those who worked at the naval base, this was a well-liked location for leisure and recreation. Nelson Bar is the only remaining business parks from the 1960s as of right now.

To get to the Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple from Sembawang Strip, take Canberra Link, then Sembawang Road. When P. Karuppiah, a dockyard worker, had a dream about the Hindu deity Lord Murugan and a golden cobra under a jujube tree in 1962, he decided to build the temple. He constructs the temple there to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu dockyard workers after discovering a jujube tree close to Canberra Road. Even though the temple gets moved, you can still stop by the original location to observe how Sembawang’s community gets enriched by its historical significance.

Sembawang Beach and Park

In addition to its long history as a naval base and home to coastal villages, Sembawang gets distinguished by its natural beauty. We can still see the area’s beautiful nature even though urbanization and development projects have reached Sembawang.

Sembawang Park and Beach, which is serene and remote from the rest of Sembawang Town, also offers peace. Enjoy strolls or picnics with your loved ones (adhering to Covid-19 restrictions, of course). The Beaulieu House translates to “beautiful location” in French, and the jetty is both on the shore. The jetty and Beaulieu House translates from French as “beautiful place.” It gets built as a vacation home before converting into housing for navy personnel and later. In the 1950s, into a Provence Residence for the captain of the dockyard near the beach.

Neoclassical in design, the front porch, verandah, and balcony are adorned with ornate cast-iron railings in the style of the Victorian era. It is now a restaurant and a great place to end the pedestrian path with a beautiful view of the Straits of Johor.

Sembawang Hot Spring Park

The lone hot spring in Singapore gets located in the Sembawang neighborhood. Residents have always traveled a fair distance to this natural wonder. And since it reopened as Sembawang Hot Spring Park last year, people have frequented the location to soak in the mineral-rich water thought to have therapeutic effects.

Initially, businessman Seah Eng Keong packaged and sold the hot spring water. After purchasing the property and business, the soft drink manufacturer Fraser & Neave carried on with the spring-sourced bottled water and mineral drinks production and distribution, most notably Vichy Water and Singa. Japanese turned it into a sanatorium with thermal baths during World War Two for their naval commanders. Eventually,

The Ministry of Defence eventually gave the state the land back after it had changed hands several times; the state then began renovations in 2018 and reopened the area as a 1.1-hectare public park last year.

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