All in all, it’s a good place to visit with friends and family for the sake of some fresh air. If you’re into art, the modern facilities provide the space needed in order to exhibit your work. The bungalows, which feature a mix of white and black tiles, are in the style of colonial dwellings constructed between the two World Wars.
During the final black and white bungalow generation, these homes were mostly inhabited by military personnel in preparation for World War II. The tunnels were built in the late 1920s to accommodate Royal Navy personnel from the Singapore Naval Base. The construction of a new naval base off Sembawang was prompted by the British navy’s policy to fortify Singapore’s coasts.
Although they are not strictly speaking an “early black and white bungalow,” given that some only received black paint and whitewash over timber frames and concrete walls on hindsight, these military blacks and whites nevertheless reflect a colonial heritage.
The Sembawang homes, which are mostly black and white, exhibit a sense of design inventiveness, with many of them incorporating Malay architectural themes to balance Singapore’s swelteringly hot and humid weather.
Many of these homes are raised a few feet above the ground. It keeps the moisture out of your home and allows for circulation underneath it, as well as ventilation of the (wooden) flooring and humidity reduction indoors. Given the frequency of heavy rain in Singapore, this was also useful during flooding.
Many of these structures were left undisturbed when the British government returned them to Pakistan after independence. These black and white homes, with their historical links to military history and architectural creativity, add colour to our history books.