Capitol Building

Capitol Building
Location: 11, Stamford Rd, Singapore 178884


The building was completed in 1933 by the architectural firm Keys & Dowdeswell, and built on the existing structure of the Capitol Theatre, built earlier in 1929.

The style of the building is eclectic neo-Classical, characterised by somewhat ponderous detailing. It was one of the very few air-conditioned theatres when it was built by the Namazies, a prominent Persian family to host live shows. By the mid-1930s, there were 10 cinemas, of which the Capitol was the largest and the newest. It opened in 1930 and was followed by the Alhambra, Marlborough, Pavilion, Roxy, Wembley, Tivoli, Empire, Jubilee and Gaiety.

During the Japanese Occupation, the Capitol operated under the name Kyo-Ei Gekijo until 1944, when a bomb planted by the anti-Japanese resistance damaged it. The theatre's English-language movies were later forbidden by the Japanese who replaced them with their own films. After 1946, the Capitol was purchased by Shaw and rebuilt. It became the organisation's flagship theatre (1,686 seats), and renamed as Shaw Building. The patrons had "the choice of gallery, stalls and circle seats which were priced at S$1, S$2 and S$3 respectively from the early post-World War II years until the 1970s.

It was listed for preservation in August 1983 by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and acquired by it in 1983-1984 so that it would be preserved as part of a future development.

Its use as a movie theatre ended with its last movie screening on 29 December 1998 when Shaw Organisation, its tenant since 1984, returned it to the Urban Redevelopment Board (URA) in 1987. In 2000, the Singapore Tourism Board took over the building to explore alternative uses for it, but plans to turn it into a home for an arts group did not bear fruit. 


By Public Bus: Bus 7, 14, 14E, 16, 36, 77, 106, 111, 128, 131, 162, 162M, 167 and 171

By Train: City Hall MRT (NS25/EW13)

1minute walk from exitB