Mention void deck, and fond memories may come to mind of playing catching as a child, or where you meet friends at the Chinese chess/checkers tables. Or it could remind you of happy occasions like celebrating a wedding or a sombre event like a funeral.
Some void decks or the ground floor of HDB blocks may be home to a kindergarten or amenities such as coffee shops and convenience stores. This uniquely Singapore space has evolved and today may be a venue for new and sometimes creative events and happenings.
1. An Art tour
How about visiting an art gallery that is open 24 hours a day? Several void decks are home to artworks that are accessible all day, everyday. Check out Block 56 Pipit Road, which hosts Singapore’s first void deck art gallery with reproductions of Van Gogh’s work, such as Sunflowers and Starry Night. Social Creatives, the arts charity behind this, has also painted over 200 murals in void decks around Singapore.
Other HDB void deck art galleries you can visit include pop art at Blk 8 Holland Avenue, and Blocks 749 and 750 Jurong West Street 73, which feature Picasso’s cubism-style artwork.
Image source: HDB
2. A reading corner
For some, a library is just a lift ride away. Check out community libraries that have sprouted up in void decks, with shelves of books laid out for residents to enjoy. At Block 436 Yishun Avenue 11, residents have set up the Yishun Superhero Library, which has over 1,000 books in its collection, thanks to generous donations from both residents and the public.
3. Modern conveniences
Instead of the corner convenience stores, vending machines selling household necessities and hot meals can be found in some void decks. It started with the VendCafe at Block 320C Anchorvale Drive in Sengkang, offering hot meals like noodles, sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Open 24/7, there are an increasing number of vending machines located in void decks that makes it convenient for residents to pick up a loaf of bread, hair accessories or even snacks for a midnight feast!
4. Kampung spirit
Over at the void deck of Block 441 Tampines Street 43, you can find two fridges and a freezer that are well-stocked with fresh groceries. These community fridges are not just for neighbours swopping vegetables, the public and even restaurants have contributed. The aim? To help the needy in the nearby blocks, whether it is with a serving of fruit, fish, vegetables, meat, or eggs.
The kampong spirit is alive and well at the void deck of Block 603 Yishun Street 61. You may think you have wandered into someone’s home, as the space is decorated like a kitchen and living room, with rice cookers, stocked fridges, and even toys for children, like a foosball table, a mini slide, bicycles and kick scooters. This welcoming area has residents dropping by for a chat, share food and play games.
Image source: HDB