According to Pranee Sakulpitpatana, a lecturer at Phuket Rajabhat University and one of the island’s premier historians, the architecture is a reflection of European influence on the island.
Europeans, including the Portuguese and the British, had been interested in Phuket’s tin wealth since the 16th century.
In the 18th century, much of the island’s tin mining was carried out by Hokkien Chinese who became the big players in building the old part of the city. In the early 20th century, under Governor Phraya Rassada Nupradit, major European mining companies were invited in, and the major public infrastructure such as roads and canals was built. No one knows exactly when the first building in this style was constructed, but old photographs from the reign of King Rama V (1853-1910) show that it was already well established by then. Two styles of building in particular stand out: the shop-house (Sino-Portuguese style) and the big mansion (Sino-Colonial style).