These architectural landmarks in Kallang are a peek into Singapore’s history

(Clockwise from top left) A building in the Dakota Crescent estate, Kallang Airport, the Singapore Indoor Stadium and the National Stadium. Photo: Thesnappingturtle_/ Instagram, / Instagram, Singapore Sports Hub
(Clockwise from top left) A building in the Dakota Crescent estate, Kallang Airport, the Singapore Indoor Stadium and the National Stadium. Photo: Thesnappingturtle_/ Instagram, / Instagram, Singapore Sports Hub

 You already know that Kallang is the place to go for exercise and try out different sports, but there’s even more to be discovered here. From one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates to the National Stadium, Kallang is home to interesting structures new and old. Take a trip with us through time as we explore a few unique buildings that this eclectic neighborhood has to offer. 

Dakota Crescent

Characterised by its iconic low-rise flats along Old Airport Road, Dakota Crescent was developed into a residential area during the 1950s to address Singapore’s rapidly growing population, with the aim of turning it into Singapore’s equivalent of London’s Hyde Park. Today, the area has been slated for redevelopment, with demolition work underway. The buildings here went unoccupied for four years before demolition works finally began in 2020. We’ll still be able to hang on to a bit of history though, as the community, led by Save Dakota Crescent, successfully rallied for the conservation of its six central blocks and the iconic ‘Dove Playground’. 

Kallang Airport

Kallang Airport opened in 1937, six years after the project was announced. Singapore’s strategic location made it an attractive stopover for those travelling between Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Kallang Airport became a vital hub that helped shoulder the world’s increasing appetite for air travel. It was known for being a high-quality airport, and Amelia Earhart herself even called the airport “an aviation miracle of the East” during a stopover in 1937. The structure was set for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in 2008. If you visit the decommissioned airport today, you can still see its control tower and hangar.

Singapore Indoor Stadium

When we think about concerts or live events, the Singapore Indoor Stadium might immediately come to mind. It’s where many iconic live performances have been held, and it has hosted events like the WTA Finals, Disney on Ice, One Championship, Metallica, Kit Chan, Ed Sheeran and many more. The venue officially opened back in 1989, as a replacement for the ageing Geylang Indoor Stadium (known back then as Gay World Stadium). At the time, the Singapore Indoor Stadium was built using the latest technology and it was inspired by regional traditions — pretty obvious from its majestic roof slope typical of temple architecture found in Asia. This combination of technology and tradition made it a global architectural icon.

National Stadium

We also can’t talk about live sports and entertainment without mentioning the National Stadium, which has hosted the International Champions Cup, Monster Jam, One Direction, U2, Jay Chou, BTS, Coldplay and many more. The 55,000-capacity venue was completed in 2013, and is the crown jewel of Kallang. Constructed mostly from steel, this massive structure is a feat of modern engineering — at 310m in diameter and at a height of 81.5m, it’s the world’s largest free-spanning dome, and it could comfortably fit four A380 planes, wing to wing and the Changi Airport control tower. The centrepiece here, of course, is the dome’s retractable LED roof, which allows concerts and live events held here to go on rain or shine.

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