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Who JULIAN DAVISON

Why HE HAS RECAPTURED THE BEAUTY OF SINGAPORE’S OLD ART DECO LANDMARKS WITH HIS FINE ARCHITECTURAL ILLUSTRATIONS what gets him out of bed in the morning тм FRESH AS A DAISY,

ENTHUSIASTIC FOR MY WORK AS I MAKE MY TEA».

He may be an Englishman, but architectural historian Julian Davison’s vivid memories of yesteryear Singapore can rival any proud local’s. Julian’s father was an architect and one of the founding partners of the Singapore branch of Raglan Squire & Partners (better known today as RSP). The cheery 57-year-old spent his childhood in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, only returning to the UK to study. He has been living in Singapore for 23 years now, and has no intention of leaving. «I’m part of the history, I just happened to be a white guy,» he says.

He does architectural illustrations too, and his most recent drawings are on show at an ongoing exhibition at The Fullerton Hotel, in conjunction with the occasion of Clifford Pier’s 80th anniversary.

These black-and-white graphite renderings showcase some of Singapore’s most defining Art Deco buildings, which used to dominate the waterfront — Clifford Pier, Asia Insurance Building on Finlayson Green (the tallest building in Southeast Asia at that time, renamed Ascott Raffles Place), the Fullerton Waterboat House, and the now-defunct HSBC building as it was in the 1920s. Julian remembers Clifford Pier in the ’60s with great affection: «The waterfront then was very exciting, with many important dignitaries docking, people selling stuff — my father bought me a fake Rolex! — and a huge seascape of ships on the water like twinkling fireflies. The place was like a fantasy Eastern bazaar.» He goes on to describe the pier as an «exciting, strong piece of architecture» with its unusual concrete arched trusses. Built in 1933, other unique details include the roof support brackets that appear «strangely stretched in proportion, and almost Egyptian.»

Julian referenced his illustrations from architectural drawings obtained from the National Archives. Working on them for the exhibition has heightened an even more intimate appreciation of all these whimsical, stylistic landmarks. «You really get to know a building when you look at its lines,» he says.

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