Eye in the Sky - Toa Payoh Town Gardens Lookout Tower

Toa Payoh Town Gardens Lookout Tower is the centrepiece of Toa Payoh New Town’s development in the 1970s. The tower and its surrounding town gardens were completed in 1974, in time for the SEAP Games in Sep that year as athletes were housed in 4 HDB point blocks adjacent to the gardens.

The 75 ft high tower was a popular photo spot for families and wedding couples in the 1970s. The surrounding garden was designed to provide new Toa Payoh residents with a scenic recreational space complete with a man-made lake for boating and a 400-tree forest.


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