From iProperty.com writer Samantha Loveridge: "Julian Davison, author of the recently launched book The Singapore Shophouse, marvels at the architectural ingenuity of these shophouses’ air well feature: an open column that ran through the whole house and created a cooling system. 'There’s usually a water feature at the bottom of the airwell too,' which, Julian explains, 'added to the cooling quality of the house.' The floors would have been made from terracotta tiles where the airwell came in. These terracotta tiles would be laid straight on to the earth. This wasn’t done for speed or cost, 'the cool moisture of the earth rises through and keeps the tiles cool', says Julian. Very little is actually known about the people that created shophouses. One man, Wee Teck Moh, whom Julian calls the 'Shophouse King', worked from 1890 to 1911 and created hundreds of shophouses. All that is known of him now though is his signature on the architectural specifications." Full article here.