Blocks 160 & 161 Mei Ling Street are the First Point Blocks constructed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Built at a cost of $2,500,000, the sale of the 20-storey Point Blocks were presided by then Parliamentary Secretary for National Development, Ho Cheng Choon, on 8 April 1970. The two blocks contained a total of 456 units consisting of 342 three-room and 114 four-room apartments.
Before the Point Blocks were constructed, early HDB residential blocks conformed to a standard slab design of uniform height and were arranged equidistant from one another. Within the block, each row of apartments was served by a common corridor on every storey. These Point Blocks were designed with an eye to reduce homogeneity in public housing and “provide” more privacy to cater to different tastes and preferences. Instead of a long common balcony, the tower blocks had 4 units on each level and contained a central staircase on every storey.
Karen Lum, 42, and her family live in an apartment at Block 160 since 1970. She recalled, “The point blocks are built on a small hill. Hence, we can enjoy an unobstructed view of downtown Singapore from my house. On every National Day, we can even see fireworks from my window!”
Following the success of the pilot project at Blocks 160 & 161 Mei Ling Street, the Housing and Development Board went on to build more point blocks across the country. Point Blocks are extremely popular with younger Singaporeans and they set the trend for more privacy in public housing.