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Wak Hai Cheng Bio (also known as Yueh Hai Cheng Temple) sited along Philip Street, Singapore, underwent full-scale restoration works from 2010 to 2014. The speaker, Yeo Kang Shua, led the restoration work and published two books on the temple《粵海清廟:建築與歷史的對話》in 2020 and Divine Custody: A History of Singapore’s Oldest Teochew Temple in 2021. The absence of written sources and/or inscriptions to commemorate the founding of the temple led to much speculation as to the founding date, but Professor Yeo’s research in the history of land tenure of Singapore and old maps and title deeds provides new evidence for the temple’s foundation. Careful ‘reading’ of the material culture (physical fabric) also guided the restoration works.

In this talk, Professor Yeo will present an overview of the Wak Hai Cheng Bio conservation project, highlighting specific issues with restoration/conservation of a plaster ornamentation with fresco painting, as well as the replication of the roof’s ceramic shards ornamentation.

About the speaker: Dr. Shua is an Associate Professor and Associate Head of Pillar (Research/Practice/Industry) at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Trained as an architect and architectural historian, his research interest is primarily in the area of architectural conservation. He has been involved in the restoration of some of Singapore’s religious and institutional buildings and was awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2010 and 2014. To view the flyer, click here.

Axonometric drawing courtesy of Preservation of Sites and Monuments, NHB; 2006 historic pre-restoration banner photograph courtesy of P. B. Welch

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