Rocher Centre: A Last Goodbye

In 2011, the Singapore government announced that Rochor Centre was being demolished to make way for a new expressway. When we were reminded just last year that it would be demolished in 2016 (date unannounced), we knew that we simply had to capture its magnificence before it was gone for good!

Rochor Centre was built in 1977 as a typical commercial/residential estate, with shops situated on the first few floors and the housing estates above them. We notice that recent properties have incorporated this design, which says a lot about the distinctive design scheme!

What is immediately noticeable about Rochor Centre are the 4 blocks of flats that were painted in prominent colours (yellow, blue, green and magenta). It formed part of the backdrop that allowed us to express our creativity during our trip there! The fact that many tenants have moved out and relocated elsewhere made the centre seem like a ghost town (of sorts). We started our exploration from the ground level, encountering numerous empty shops on the upper levels, before heading up towards the level where the housing estates were situated.

From the ground level, the housing blocks appear to tower majestically over its visitors!


Older folks (like this elderly gentleman) enjoy their weekend by ‘chilling’ and observing passers-by.
A common sign, no doubt many would have seen!
Another common sight in Singapore: laundry hanging from bamboo poles!


Like many other shops in Rochor Centre, this one has lost its owner too. Now, it is a mere remnant of the past.
Tonkatsu!!! The numerable holes in the wall appear to allow wind to pass through easily, thereby ventilating the floors better.


Climbing up the stairs towards the residential estates!

As part of the SG50 celebrations, a group of artists banded together to infuse the old Rochor estate with wallpapers of Singaporeans taking part in daily activities, including taking the MRT and going to school. The wallpapers are creatively affixed to the walls of the void deck, giving a life-like impression of different environments in Singapore!

The imagery of MRT doors created the uncanny impression that we were at a MRT station waiting to board a train!


Here, an older resident was captured playing a Chinese flute; indeed such practices may well be consumed by our advancing modern technologies.
A happenstance that we captured this as we looked down from the foyer; residents going about their usual business.
Sandra sauntering about, endeavouring to capture the flats with her Lomo’Instant camera!
There’s much to be said… about posing for a picture so obviously (eh heh).
The four colourful flats in the backdrop!
Disturbing the birds as they flocked about was fun in some way (without harming them obviously). Here, we managed to grab some quick shots of them flying about from opposite ends of the foyer (see the rails where the birds are perched).


Rochor Centre is located within walking distance of Rochor Station, and is situated along Bencoolen Street!

As always, we brought out trusty Lomo’Instant camera, and exhausted our creative juices to great effect!

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Multiple Exposure with Splitzer: As mentioned above, Sandra tried to ‘merge’ all four images of the housing estates representing different colours. The result was quite something else!
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Once again, Tonkatsu!!! We opted for the close-up lens, which focused very well on Tonkatsu while dimming the background significantly.
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🙂 // The bottom left corner of this instant film has a strange fern-like imprint on this image, which we have not yet figured what it is…
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Multiple Exposure: The effect of this photo was to make the flats look like as if they were amongst the clouds! We admittedly had some difficulty capturing this double exposure of the clouds and the colourful flats, as we had to second-guess the exposure settings. This was arguably the best of them all; as they say, practice makes perfect!
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Where are you going Damian?!

Rochor Centre is a must-visit location for photographers (there were many when we went there during the weekend), with opportunities all over the place to snap some creative shots! Set to close in 2016, this is the year to explore yet another hidden gem right in the heart of Singapore!

Till next time,



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