Eye in the Sky - Seletar Lookout Tower

Seletar Lookout Tower was constructed in 1969 to mark the inauguration of Seletar Reservoir. The opening of the reservoir also coincided with the 150th year of Singapore’s founding and was officiated by Princess Alexandra from United Kingdom on 10 Aug 1969.

The concrete tower was designed and built by the Public Works Department and features a unique “rocket-shape” characteristic of the “Space-Age” architecture popular in the 1960s. The space exploration fervour also reached its zenith in 1969 when astronauts from Apollo 11 successfully landed and walked on the Moon for the first time.

The 60 ft high lookout tower overlooks a 2,700 acre reservoir, the biggest impounding reservoir in Singapore at that time. The beautiful combination of the reservoir’s scenery, the lush greenery of the adjoining nature reserves and the iconic tower drew in weekend crowds in the 1970s and 1980s. The park is a popular spot for couples and families alike.


EYE IN THE SKY

NHB embarked on its research on the four remaining Lookout Towers in Singapore to enhance existing historical and architectural understanding of these iconic landmarks which were built between the 1960s and the 1970s as “observation decks” to view Singapore’s growth and development in the areas of infrastructure, housing, industrial development and recreation.

Beyond uncovering people's memories of visiting these structures in the past, NHB’s research also delved deep into understanding the architectural influences of these structures and how the design of the towers took reference from other lookout towers which were considered futuristic and representative of Space-Age architecture popular in the 1960s and 1970s. These international references include observation towers found in Brussels, New York, Montreal and Osaka.

The four lookout towers are all built between 1969 and 1975 when Singapore underwent a period of rapid development and dramatic landscape changes. It is also an important period for a newly independent nation to build up strong diplomatic relationship with other nations. Hence these towers were also frequently visited by royalty and other dignitaries worldwide who are keen to find out about opportunities in the nascent country.

Published by
Heritage Research & Assessment, National Heritage Board
Published Year
2015