In 2009, film star and martial artist Jackie Chan expressed his interest in donating his personal collection of four antique structures to local university SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design). Today, they stand on the campus as a “living textbook” for students to learn from the wisdom of ancient architecture.
The four antique structures include an opera stage, a double-tier pavilion, and two antique Zhejiang houses. The buildings are said to date back to the Qing and Ming dynasties, almost 380 years ago. These structures went through years of restoration work and a team of 24 craftsmen from Suzhou, China were brought in to restore the structures to their original glory.
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With these historical works of art on campus, students and visitors can get an up-close look at the different styles of architecture and the finely crafted details. The opera stage and the pavilion, located between the hostels and academic buildings are currently spaces for performance and recreational use.
Antique Houses at SUTD
The two antique houses, which are near the students’ and faculty housing and surrounded by an eco lake, currently serve as an event space.
The two houses are named Da Tong and Du Zhe after places in China’s Zhejiang. During the restoration of this space, air-conditioners were installed, and glass walls were added. Also, there is an additional ‘window’ in the gable of the antique house, that allows people inside the house to appreciate the view of the lake outside.
SUTD Board of Trustee Tai Lee Siang said having such structures in place provides its students with a “global outlook” by being exposed to cultures both past and present. He added: “It serves as a reminder of how people in traditional culture conceptualise and build such buildings.”
Visiting the Heritage Houses
Those who wish to view the antique structures in person can head down to SUTD. The structures are located near Blocks 51 and 53.