Selegie Arts Centre
In a city laid out on grids and squares, it is always a delight to spot the occasional misfit. At the tip of a U-shaped corner formed by two roads, namely Selegie Road and Prinsep Street, is a curved yellow pastel building – Selegie Arts Centre. Located at 30 Selegie Road or on the edge of Prinsep Street, the Selegie Arts Centre takes after the shape of a wedge.
Selegie Arts Centre is one of few buildings unaffected by major demolition in the area. Most shophouses on the same stretch had been torn down in the early 1990s.
The Selegie Arts Centre is now managed under the National Arts Council’s Arts Housing Scheme as part of the Waterloo Street Arts Belt. It houses The Photographic Society of Singapore, which has occupied both second and third levels since 1995. The gallery on the third level is named Loke Wan Tho Gallery after their former Vice President Datok Loke Wan Tho, better known as the founder of the Cathay Organisation.
There is no longer through access between Prinsep Street and Selegie Road due to the construction of Bencoolen MRT Station for the Downtown Line Stage 3. Selegie Road has become a two-way street to facilitate traffic flow as a stretch of Bencoolen Street has been closed.
Selegie Road is a street filled with landmarks, such as the David Elias Building, the Ellison Building, the Rendezvous, and the Selegie House estate, which is one of the earliest HDB housing estates. The Selegie Arts Centre is sometimes represented by its tenant on the first level, the Mr Bean’s Café, a 24-hour bistro known for offering live sports screening.
Selegie Arts Centre is a conserved building under the Cheang Jim Chwan Place conservation area and is set to be a feature along Selegie Road in a long time to come.