Today, Singapore stands as the global financial hub. It excels in commerce, transportation, Human Development Index, and GDP. Singapore was founded as a colonial trading post and gained its sovereignty in 1965. It has a rich and varied culture and is home to people of various communities. This is reflected in its diverse architecture.
The architecture of Singapore incorporates the rich history of the island country as well as the global trends. The styles range from colonial and gothic to more contemporary modern styles. So here are few of Singapore's architectural marvels.
1. Pearl Bank Apartments
Pearl Bank Apartments are considered a significant work of modern architecture. These represent the Brutalist style of architecture, characterised by its functionality and lack of pretentiousness. This style was quite popular in Singapore in the 1970s. Pearl Bank Apartments are high rise private residences consisting of 38 floors. They are situated in Pearl's Hill in Outram, close to Chinatown. It was designed by Singaporean architect Tan Cheng Siong in 1976 and back in the day, was the tallest residential building having the most number of apartments in a single block. It is truly an architectural marvel and stands tall even today.
Being home to various religious communities, Singapore also has some breathtakingly beautiful place of worship, regarding architecture. One of these is Thian Hock Keng Temple. Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore and is dedicated to the Goddess of Sea, Mazu. The temple is built on the lines of the Fujian style of architecture, a Southern Chinese style. The temple was constructed without using concrete or nails but using stones, tiles, broken pieces of pottery, and timber. It is filled with sculptures of dragons and the local deities. Today, it is revered by the locals and considered an important part of their nation.
National Museum of Singapore is the oldest museum of Singapore and can be traced back to 1849. Since its construction, the museum has undergone redevelopments like the restoration of windows, dome, coating to prevent oxidation, etc. The museum displays the history of Singapore through zoological and archaeological artefacts. It was built along the lines of Neo-Palladian and Renaissance style of architecture, characterised by very symmetrical outer appearance and use of pediments above large windows. The most distinct feature is the structure's rotunda with a dome with coloured glass panels and fish scale tiles which make the building stand apart.
The Esplanade is a performing arts theatre consisting of a concert hall and a theatre which opened its doors in 2002. It is situated in Downtown Core near the Singapore River. It is spread across an area of 6000 square meters and resembles a durian, the Southeast Asian "king of fruits". It has an eye-catching spiky exterior and equally enthralling interior. It is an example of the modern style of architecture in Singapore. This is a hub for entertainment and hosts a variety of shows all around the year.
Marina Bay Sands is a luxurious resort which houses a casino, shopping complex, theatres, a museum, the world's most extended infinity pool and restaurants. Being an icon of Singapore, even the architecture of the place exudes luxury. The complex is spread across an area of 20 hectares and was designed by a Canadian architect Moshe Safdie who said that the inspiration behind it was a deck of cards. It was also built along the lines of Chinese Feng Shui. The main attraction of the hotel is the SkyPark which is a three-acre long park on top of the three towers. It opened its doors to the public in 2010.
Singapore Flyer is another iconic structure exhibiting the prowess of the architecture of Singapore. It is a giant Ferris wheel which was designed as an observational wheel and was opened to the public in 2008, being the world's tallest Ferris wheel at that time. The wheel has 28 air-conditioned capsules and being 165 metres tall; it offers a magnificent view of the city. The capsules protrude out of the wheel's rim to provide an unobstructed view and even has provisions for the differently abled.
Helix Bridge connecting Marina Centre with Marina South is a pedestrian bridge that floats over the Singapore River and runs along the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. It is a walkway which was opened in 2010. The structure was designed by a group of architects and engineers of Cox Architecture and Arup. The bridge resembles a DNA and even has words c, g, a, and t on it which stand for the four bases of DNA. The arc-shaped bridge is fitted with glass and steel canopy which provides shade to the pedestrians from Singapore's heat. It is truly an architectural marvel, a one of a kind structure that displays the brilliance and variety of the architecture in Singapore.
The National Gallery of Singapore houses the former Supreme Court of Singapore and the former City Hall. Situated in Downtown Core in Singapore's Civic District, the gallery is a cultural space which displays contemporary and modern pieces of art. The buildings too are a marvel as they were the last colonial structures to be built in the country in the 1920s and 30s. Today, they stand as national monuments and are visited by many to witness the historic architecture of Singapore.
9. Golden Mile Complex
Built in 1973, the Golden Mile Complex is a 16 storey commercial and residential building. It houses various shops, parking spaces, eateries and even the Korean embassy. It is a modern architectural structure, designed by architects from the DO Architects firm. It is built along the lines of Brutalism style and was meant to initiate step terracing development along the Beach Road. Despite being overly commercialised, it still stands today as a unique piece of architecture.
10. The Interlace
Completed in 2013, the Interlace is a residential complex which is known for its unique architecture. It resembles blocks stacked on top of one another in a hexagonal manner, a lot like Jenga blocks. It was designed by OMA and Ole Scheeren, a German architect. The complex consists of 31 apartment blocks and a gym, tennis courts, swimming pools, playgrounds and other recreational facilities. The structure has won the World Building of the Year in 2015 and has also been praised globally.
The architecture of Singapore, like its people, is diverse and has structures from every era. It is home to various architectural marvels, some of which have been mentioned above.