The Substation, a much-loved arts venue today, began as a medium-size three-storey electrical substation building along Armenian Street. It abuts a row of shophouses, sharing the street with other landmarks, including the former MPH Bookshop (now part of SMU campus) and the Former Tao Nan School (now the Peranakan Museum).
The building was declared a conservation site on 1 January 1986. The Practice Performing Arts Centre Limited, founded by prominent playwright Mr Kuo Pao Kun, was invited by the then Ministry of Community Development to manage The Substation as an arts centre. The interior renovation took place over several months and the arts centre officially opened on 16 September 1990.
The striking brick-pilaster building was envisioned by the late Mr Kuo as an incubator of new artistic work, practices and artists. Today, the Substation remains as a gathering point for the arts community and a place for young artists and musicians to kick-start their art career.
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