Toa Payoh Heritage Trail – Of Public Housing & Shared Spaces

Block 53, The “VIP Block”, as well as the surrounding blocks, were among the first blocks built in Toa Payoh town. It later gained its reputation as a “VIP block” after visits from prime ministers, presidents and monarchs in the 1960s and 1970s.
Known for its unusual bat-shaped design, Block 116 is unique as most blocks were built based on a linear design in the early 1960s. Block 116 also features extended corridors, a characteristic of early HDB designs that have become less common today.
The Peak @ Toa Payoh was completed in 2012 and incorporates features such as roof gardens and mid-tower communal spaces.
A landmark block dating back to the 1960s, the curving Block 157 is one of the longest semi-circular blocks in Singapore.
Toa Payoh Town Park houses a 25-metre-tall Look-Out Tower conserved by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Completed in the 1970s, the popularity of this park led HDB to set aside sizeable plots of land for parks in each public housing town that followed.
Central Horizon (Blocks 79A to 79E) was completed in 2003 and can be distinguished by the golden ‘crowns’ on each block.
The 1973 SEAP Games Village allowed athletes to stay in point blocks close to everyday amenities such as cinemas and hawker centres, which allowed them to experience a slice of Singapore life. Today, one of the blocks, Block 179, is better known for hosting games of checkers (known regionally as “dum”) at its void deck, which regularly brings together enthusiastic players and spectators alike.
Designed and built by HDB in 1979, Toa Payoh Dragon Playground with its terrazzo-clad head and ringed body has become one of the most recognisable icons of Singaporean culture. A smaller variation of the dragon playground design is located at Lorong 1.

This is a self-guided trail.

As the first town planned and built entirely by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), Toa Payoh has been at the forefront of the evolution of public housing in Singapore. This trail explores the architectural development of HDB blocks, communal spaces and town planning, which reflected the needs and aspirations of Singaporean homeowners over the decades.


Explore the Suggested Short Trail Routes: