The three blocks of four-storey apartments at the SMU Residences were converted from former Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) blocks. The SIT blocks were completed in 1951 and was part of a larger SIT estate which comprised seven blocks of nine-storey and four-storey flats bounded by Selegie Road, Prinsep Street, Short Street and Albert Street. The estate was subsequently taken over by HDB and was selected for Selective En-Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) in 1998.
SMU announced in 2006 that it would take over three of the vacated blocks at Prinsep Street to develop its student residences. Thereafter, SMU renovated and opened the residences in December that year with 48 furnished apartments for its students. The four-storey high SIT blocks were designed in the streamlined modern style with influence from Art Deco design. Some of the blocks’ distinctive design features include the long linear design of the block, emphasised by the protruding horizontal roof eaves, and the curved semi-enclosed staircase with circular openings reminiscent of portholes found on ships.
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