Official Residence of the President Republic of Singapore (previously known as Government House official residence of the Governor, Straits Settlements and Colony of Singapore, The designation of the resident reflect the constitutional evolution of Singapore.

The Istana is the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore. It was previously known as Government House where the British Governor of the Straits Settlements and later the Governor of the Colony of Singapore resided. When Singapore had self government, the Head of State was known as Yang di Pertuan Negara; this title was retained when Singapore was part of the Federation of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965. Soon after the founding of modern Singapore by Stamford Raffles in 1819 the first Government House was built on Bukit Larangan (Forbidden Hill) renamed Fort Canning in 1985 after Viscount Canning, Governor-General of India. It was a wooden house with a thatched roof and it cost the East India Company $916. The early residents of Singapore would look up the hill in the morning to see of the House was still there for it looked so light that it could be blown down by a storm! Later Coleman, Singapore's first architect extended the House and redesigned it in the Neo Classical style. The House was demolished in 1859.

In 1867 the Straits Settlements (Penang, Malacca and Singapore) were transferred from the India Office to the Colonial Office. The first Governor under the new constitution Sir Harry Ord temporarily occupied the residence called the 'Pavilion' leased to the government by Dr Oxley in Grange Road. Later the Governor occupied Leonie House, also Dr Oxley's property.

Governor Ord eventually ordered that land be purchased and a proper Government House be built. Government then purchased part of the estate once extended from Stamford Road and included Mount Sophia, part of Bukit Timah and Cairnhill.

The design for the new Government House was drawn by J.F.A. McNair; he planned a well proportioned building in the shape of a cross. The architecture was Ionic/Doric with Corinthian pillars and pilasters to the towers and the roof was slated. The plaster was made with Portland cement with white sand and powdered granite. Government House was built with Indian convict labour.

The foundation stone for Government House was laid in July 1867 and the building was completed in 1869 in time to receive the Duke of Edinburgh who visited Singapore that year.

In February 1941 during the Battle for Singapore Government House came under Japanese artillery fire and bombing. Governor Sir Shenton Thomas and Lady Thomas took refuge in the Singapore Club in Fullerton Building. The Union Jack was taken down from the flag staff of Government House and hidden throughout the Japanese Occupation. In 1945 after the Japanese surrender it was rehoisted.

During the Japanese Occupation Government House was occupied by Field Marshal Count Terauchi, Commander, Japanese Southern Army and Major-General Kawamura, Commander (Syonan) Singapore Defence Forces.

Government House was reoccupied by British Governors after the war. In 1959 when Singapore attained self-government the last Governor Sir William Goode became the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore. In the same year, Inche Yusof bin Ishak succeeded him as Head of State carrying the same title. Inche Yusof bin Ishak assumed the same title when Singapore became part of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963; when Singapore was separated from Malaysia and became an independent Republic Inche Yusof bin Ishak became its President. When he died in 1970 Dr Benjamin Sheares succeeded him. Mr C.S. V.Devan Nair became President after Dr Sheares. President Wee Kim Wee is now Head of State of the Republic.

Official function are held in the Istana as well as in its grounds which are open to the public certain public holidays when President Wee Kim Wee and the First Lady meet ordinary citizens of Singapore.