As of the writing of this article, precisely six weeks have passed since the government's work-from-home advisory. Many, including myself, are starting to feel restless at home. The desire to travel, explore the city on foot, is strong, but it seems like these conditions will persist for a while. How about you? Are you also eagerly looking forward to strolling around?
For those of you who already have plans for post-pandemic travel, in this post, I present the Singapore Architecture Trip—an architecture walking tour route visiting architectural landmarks in downtown Singapore. This route can serve as a reference for your future travel plans to Singapore. Why Singapore? One of the reasons is that Singapore, being a developed country, boasts numerous modern architectural wonders. For me, Singapore is like the nearest architectural laboratory to Indonesia. The accessibility is easy, especially with many offers of affordable flight tickets.
The route I've crafted involves walking from one architectural site to another, conveniently located in close proximity. This trip covers a distance of approximately 3 km and takes around 5 hours (assuming 30 minutes per site). Of course, you can allocate your time as you wish for each site; I've just taken the minimum time into account.
The journey begins at Chinatown Point Mall (exit at Chinatown MRT and take Exit E). Simply open Google Maps on your smartphone and follow the route illustrated below.
PARKROYAL on Pickering / WOHA
PARKROYAL on Pickering is a hotel designed with the concept of a tropical hanging garden. Due to limited space, WOHA cleverly elevated and divided the garden into several floors, creating a winding hanging garden with tropical plants such as frangipani and palm trees. This design integrates the hotel's hanging garden seamlessly with the surrounding city park. The facade is also unique, with precast concrete materials resembling fluid layers. It is said that this design is inspired by natural contour lines found in Southeast Asian rice fields.
The Old Hill Street Police Station
The Old Hill Street Police Station is a heritage building, formerly a police station dating back to 1934. This Neo-Classical-style building consists of 6 floors with 927 colorful windows resembling a rainbow. The vibrant colors on its facade attract people's attention and make it a popular spot for photography.
Supreme Court of Singapore / Norman Foster (Foster & Partners)
The Supreme Court is the building of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore. The current building, designed by British architect Norman Foster, was occupied in 2005. The facade is dominated by transparent marble sheets, emphasizing transparency in legal philosophy. Unique to the building is a disc-shaped structure on top, symbolizing the contemporary form of the old courthouse dome.
National Gallery / studioMilou & CPG Consultants
The National Gallery of Singapore was originally the old Supreme Court and City Hall. The 64,000 square meter old building was renovated while retaining its original form and physical character, repurposed into an institution showcasing Singapore and Southeast Asian visual arts. The atrium is designed with a transparent roof, allowing ample natural light. The original windows are preserved and, in some cases, enlarged, offering visitors spectacular views of the city and the sea. Although the interior follows a contemporary concept, it visually integrates with the old building's character, making it unique.
Asian Civilisations Museum / GreenhilLi
Much of Downtown Singapore is filled with old buildings, and the Asian Civilisations Museum is one of them. Built around 1867, with a contemporary addition in 2015, the GreenhilLi architectural firm designed a metallic titanium cube-like structure without pillars, creating a floating effect. This design is considered a counterpoint to the existing classical-style buildings.
Esplanade / DP Architects dan Michael Wilford & Partners
A 60,000-square-meter performing arts center located in Marina Bay, divided into the Concert Hall and The Theatre. The main building's roof, resembling a ladybug or durian fruit when viewed from above, is a significant attraction. The roof structure consists of over 7,000 glazed aluminum pieces designed to resist solar heat. An interesting fact is that it takes about 2 months to clean all these aluminum pieces. Impressive!
Helix Bridge / COX Architecture
Inspired by the human DNA double helix, this stainless steel pedestrian bridge is resistant to rust even in rainy weather. Connecting Marina Centre to Marina South in the Marina Bay area, it provides a light and balanced counterpart to the nearby vehicle bridge made of concrete. At night, the bridge offers a stunning view, especially with its four cantilever platforms serving as photo spots overlooking Marina Bay.
ArtScience Museum / Safdie Architects
The building's unique shape, inspired by a lotus flower, symbolizes beauty, purity, and femininity in various Asian cultures. Resembling ten welcoming fingers, it is considered the "Welcoming Hand of Singapore." This museum, the first of its kind in Singapore and globally, combines art and science, offering visitors a blend of art and scientific knowledge through various exhibitions.
Marina Bay Sands / Safdie Architects
Adjacent to the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands is the most iconic building in Singapore. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, it combines three luxurious hotels connected by a 9,941-square-meter Skypark terrace. The architecture, resembling a stack of cards, with three different towers connected at the top at a height of 200 meters, is considered one of the most challenging construction projects globally. The topmost area features an Infinity Pool covering 1,296 square meters, making it the largest outdoor pool at that height.
Marina Bay Sands marks the conclusion of this architectural trip. If you still have the energy to continue, across from Marina Bay Sands is Gardens by The Bay, a 101-hectare themed horticultural garden that you can visit for free. The best time to visit is in the evening, so you might consider starting this trip around 3 pm to arrive at Marina Bay Sands at night.