View of Straits Chinese dwelling houses

The shophouse is a vernacular architectural building type that is both native and unique to urban Southeast Asia. The architecture, a hybrid form popular in late 19th century Singapore, reflects Victorian cast-iron work for the windows and grilles, carved panels and louvers recalling Malay building tradition and the liberal use of animals, flowers, motifs from legends and inscriptions of Chinese origin. Many shophouses can still be seen today, their exteriors conserved under the law, but with their interiors reflecting 21st century sensibilities.By the late 19th century as the population of Singapore burgeoned, middle-class Straits Chinese families started moving out of the overcrowded central areas of Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar, Neil Road and Duxton Hill to areas such as Orchard Road, River Valley Road and Emerald Hill. This photograph shows the row of terraced three-storey shophouses taken by G.R. Lambert & Co.