Singapore: Designing New Futures

Singapore: Designing New Futures

Singapore has emerged as a global design center. As a city-state and island country in Southeast Asia, the Lion City is home to a new class of high-rise buildings, gardens and iconic landmarks. While the design world is familiar with structures like the Safdie's Jewel Changi Airport or OMA's Interlace, Singapore has also built a range of new public and civic buildings alongside extensive land reclamation projects.

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© Iwan Baan

With a strong background of cultural and ethnic diversity, Singapore architecture is a result of its varied influences. Contemporary Singapore architecture has a strong focus on sustainability, with many examples of integrated landscapes being introduced into high-rise buildings. Green architecture and ventilation is particularly important for the architecture in Singapore due to its humid climate. The following cultural projects showcase how the nation is moving beyond a colonial past and designing a new future.

Learning Hub by Heatherwick Studio

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© Hufton+Crow

The Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), designed by Heatherwick Studio and executed by lead architect CPG Consultants, is a new educational landmark for Singapore. As part of NTU’s redevelopment plan for the campus, the Learning Hub is designed to be a new multi-use building for its 33,000 students.

Bishan Public Library by LOOK Architects

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© Patrick Bingham Hall

The metaphor of a tree house was invoked from the onset of design conceptualization to create an environment for learning via a journey of discovery and play in the Bishan Library. The use of skylights, trellises and colored glass transforms daylight into a myriad of shades and colors, creating a dappled light quality within the library that simulates light filtered through the foliage of trees.The library is raised above the mixed used neighborhood to foster curiosity in the community and for visitors.

UOL Edge Gallery by Ministry of Design

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© CI&A Photography – Edward Hendricks

MOD's design for the UOL Edge Gallery explores and redefines the typology of the Singaporean condominium show gallery on several fronts. Commissioned by reputed developer United Overseas Land, the project for the design of a sales gallery and two show flats of a 244 unit residential development is located at a major intersection along Singapore's eastern city fringe. MOD was commissioned to design a holistic experience including the architectural form, show gallery & show flat interiors.

SUTD Library Pavilion by City Form Lab

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© Raul Kalvo

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) library pavilion is located on a sloping lawn on the temporary Dover Campus. Accommodating three mature trees and forming a noise barrier toward the Ayer Raja Expressway in the north, the grid-shell structure of the pavilion harnesses the site constraints and activates an outdoor space behind the existing library building.

The Star by Aedas

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Courtesy of Aedas

The project aims to become a vibrant civic node with a 5,000-seat cultural theater and a food-and-beverage oriented retail sector, working together to enhance each other’s viability. The site is located within the larger one-north master plan at Buona Vista, Singapore, which was established to create a regional centre for a wide variety of civic and cultural activities and promote innovation and creativity.

New Wings at The Asian Civilizations Museum by GreenhilLi

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Courtesy of GreenhilLi Pte Ltd

The two new extensions at the Asian Civilizations Museum are a culmination of ideas centred around progressive museum aspirations, stringent heritage requirements and physically challenging sites. The rejuvenation of the museum building is defined by the clarity of architectural expression, and the manipulation of daylight to sculpt building form and illuminate gallery spaces.

AirMesh Pavilion by AIRLAB

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Courtesy of AirMesh Pavilion

AirMesh is the world first architectural structure made of 3D printed components in stainless steel, demonstrating innovative digital design and manufacturing technologies developed by AirLab at Singapore University of Technology and Design in Singapore. The ultra-lightweight pavilion, located at Gardens by the Bay, is both a gathering space and a light sculpture.

'Future of Us' Building Envelope by SUTD Advanced Architecture Laboratory

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© Oddinary Studios

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Advanced Architecture Laboratory (AAL) was commissioned to design this large-scale structural building envelope for The Future of Us exhibition. The visitors were made to experience a play of light and shade cast by an intricate metal lattice, like a ‘walk in an imaginary forest’.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 19th, 2019 and updated on October 27, 2021.

About this author
Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Singapore: Designing New Futures" 28 Oct 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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