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Characteristics & Features

Shophouse Characteristics 

A typical shophouse has these characteristics:

  • Facing a street
  • Built in a row, next to one another along a street, with no gaps or spaces in between
  • Contains a single party wall separating shophouses on either side
  • Low rise, 2-3 storeys
  • Narrow and long, sectioned by air-well
  • 5 foot way/kaki lima/Goh kha ki
  • Multi-functional, combining residential and commercial use
  • The ground floor of shophouses were typically used for business and trading
  • Proprietors lived on the upper floor
Image 1
  • Multi-functional (retail below & residence above)
  • Low rise (2 to 3 storeys)
  • Terraced buildings
  • Narrow fronts, deep rears
  • Party walls
  • Roofs
  • Rear Terrace
  • Decorative Façade
  • Façade colour (off-white, indigo, ochre, baby blue, light yellow etc.)
  • Façade ornamentation (influences from Malay, Chinese and European traditions)
Image 2

Features of Shophouse 

The features of a Shophouse are distinct yet similar throughout the different styles found in George Town. Below is an illustration on the features of a “Southern Chinese” Eclectic Style Shophouse. 
A3_brochure OUT_110114

For the Chinese version, please click here.