MICA Building

MICA Building (33)

MICA is a unique building located on the corner of Hill Street and River Valley Road, near the River. Its name comes from the initials of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts based in this building.

As you can see it is a large 6 story building with a total area of over 25,000 square meters, and has a pure Gothic style, like many of the public buildings in England in 1930. The facade plays with symmetries, with small balconies, arches and columns, although, of course, what stands out is its 911 multi-coloured windows: yellow, orange, red, blue, green, purple ... They are a true rainbow. If you think it is fun to photograph during the day, you should try visiting it at night. The lighting will surprise you. 

This once was the site of Singapore’s first prison as well as other City Council agencies, but in the early twentieth century it was decided to build the structure you see here today, which incidentally housed the Hill Street Police Station, the work of the architect Mayor McNair from the Department of Public Works.  

The building was one of the most beautiful in the world and in the 1930s already had several electric lifts.  It was so big that it even housed the police officers' residences, offices, and even their garages. It was officially opened in 1934 and within a year there were more than 300 people working here, mostly police and officials.

This building inspired very contradictory emotions in the Chinese community. Some felt that it disturbed the area’s feng shui, while for others, together with its adjacent buildings, it formed a perfect Peh Toh. That is, a Chinese New Year fish that symbolizes and brings good luck.

By the end of the last century the police station had already left the building.  Starting in 1983, the building housed several public institutions such as the National Archives, the Oral History Department and the Board of Film Censors, which led to renaming the building the Hill Street Building.

Later, these institutions left the building and the Old Hill Street Police Station Building was declared a national monument in 1998 and in 2000 it became the headquarters of the Ministry of Information and Arts, or MITA, under Minister Lee Yock Suan. Therefore the building is also known as MITA.

It was at this point that the building was restored, at a cost of 90 million Singapore dollars, and given its characteristic multi-coloured windows. As you can see, the ground floor contains several art galleries, sculptures, a cafe and an exhibition and performance space.  It also has an area covered by a spectacular almost 30 foot high glass ceiling.

Since 2004 this building has become known as MICA, instead of MITA after having incorporated the Communications Ministry three years before. Take a leisurely stroll through its galleries, drink a coffee and enjoy the air conditioning, the light, as well as the local and international art in a unique Singapore environment.

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