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ArchitecTour: Walking Through Singapore (Part 2)

Several months ago, I wrote about the Singapore Architecture Trip, and now I am discussing its continuation.

For this trip, it is similar to Part 1, covering a distance of approximately 3 km. If you find the time insufficient, you can divide this route into two days. The route I have created involves walking from one landmark to another, all of which are in close proximity. All buildings along this route can be visited for free.

The starting point begins at Bugis MRT Station, taking exit B or C. Subsequently, open Google Maps on your smartphone and follow the travel route as shown in the image below.

Rute Trip Arsitektur Singapura, Aditya Yuwana
Rute trip arsitektur Singapura. Image by Adityuwana

Point A

Bugis+ (Iluma) / WOHA

Bugis Iluma, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Bugis+ Iluma. Image from Archdaily

Iluma is a 10-story mall and entertainment center located in the Bugis Street area. Its design is a combination of square blocks and curved shapes. The building consists of two different forms; the red square-shaped form reminiscent of brightly painted public housing blocks, while the white curved decorative form translates varied mass into a distinct expression between the two shapes. The square elements accommodate large and regular components, while the curved form accommodates retail and entertainment activities along winding circulation corridors. To achieve the vision of a vibrant nightlife in the area, the building utilizes specially designed and artistic Crystal Mesh façade media, resembling sparkling gems during the day and shining brightly at night.

Bugis Iluma, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Bugis+ Iluma. Image from Archdaily

Point B

National Design Center / SCDA

Originally an old building, architect Soo K. Chan of SCDA Architect renovated it into a lecture space, a venue for public exhibitions, and a hub for design practitioners in Singapore. Creatively restoring the old building, recognized as a heritage building by Singapore authorities, Chan, like the National Gallery, retained much of its form and characteristics. He repurposed it into a center for lectures and design exhibitions, incorporating four cantilevers and transparent box elements that form interconnected spaces for both public and private use, representing a contemporary form within its interior. The combination of the old building's character and contemporary elements makes this structure truly unique.

National Design Center, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
National Design Center. Image from Archdaily

Point C

Singapore National Library / T.R. Hamzah & Ken Yeang

Public buildings should rightfully be accessible to the public for free, and Singapore's National Library is one such example. This 16-story library has a large atrium on its ground floor for exhibitions, accessible to anyone. The building consists of two masses connected by bridges on several floors. On the rooftop of the 16th floor, there is a large covered area designed like a bubble called The Pod, used for various events. This area provides a 360-degree panorama from the city center towards Marina Bay.

Singapore National Library, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
National Library Singapore. Image from Wikimedia Commons & Adityuwana

Point D

Bras Basah MRT Station / WOHA

The concept involves how an MRT station in Singapore's heritage area has good visual access to the exterior for passengers' experience, integrating the station with the heritage area through a garden. The result is a unique station where we can enjoy a transparent roof as a skylight made of glass, with the glass serving as the floor of a pool for a garden above it. When viewed from the garden side, this pool is just a regular reflective pool with a glass bottom. Still, when viewed from the platform side, this glass becomes a giant roof. The slanted walls in the large open space on the platform act as reflectors to maximize natural light entering the area.

Bras Basah MRT Station, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Bras Basah MRT Station, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Bras Basah MRT Station. Image by Adityuwana

Point E

School of The Arts / WOHA

A school building dedicated to the arts and performances, its design represents a new paradigm where a large, dense object is divided into three box-shaped masses with giant voids separating them to allow natural light and air to reach all areas of the building. The School of The Arts is an environmentally friendly building designed to channel and intensify wind, with meeting spaces and social areas under a covered roof to provide a pleasant and safe environment for children. Vertical gardens cover most of the building's facades, and the roof is designed as a large recreational area with a 400m running track.

School of The Arts, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
School of The Arts. Image from Archdaily

Point F

Dhoby Ghaut Green / SCDA

Dhoby Ghaut Green is a structure in a park that serves as a "City Room" for community gatherings within the city, functioning as an exhibition for Architecture and Urban Design demonstration projects and a venue for performances that encourage public participation in enjoying open spaces. Its circular and tiered form resembles an open amphitheater. The outer skin of the building is covered with iron mesh, and the wooden lattice ceiling makes it a landmark of the park.

Dhoby Ghaut Green, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Dhoby Ghaut Green. Image from SCDA Architects.

Point G

Library @Orchard

Library@Orchard is a public library under the auspices of the National Library Board or the National Library of Singapore. This boutique-concept library is specially designed for young people, especially those interested in design, lifestyle, and the arts. The interior is predominantly white, and the furniture is non-rigid, following the contours of the space and human circulation. Visitors can find more than 45,000 design-themed books and 46 design magazine titles displayed on a wall.

Library Orchard, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Library @Orchard. Image by Tripadvisor

Point H

Design Orchard / WOHA

Design Orchard embodies a new concept that moves away from traditional retail concepts and instead offers a new lifestyle space by combining retail showcases with incubation spaces. The first floor houses retail, while the second and third floors are incubation and co-working spaces. The building's rooftop is utilized as an open space and a café surrounded by a public-accessible garden.

Design Orchard, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Design Orchard. Image from Archdaily

Point I

Apple Orchard Road / Fosters and Partners

Apple Orchard, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Apple Orchard. Image from Archdaily

The first flagship Apple store in Singapore, designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Apple's design team, Orchard Road Flagship aims to create a new social focus by harmonizing with nature and blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. The front facade is dominated by transparent glass, with thin white cantilevered canopies that attract the attention of pedestrians while providing protection from Singapore's tropical climate. The high ceiling features a mezzanine accessible via stairs with handrails integrated with a refined and luxurious finish of Italian handcrafted stone.

Apple Orchard, Trip Arsitektur Singapura
Apple Orchard Interiors. Image from Archdaily

Apple Orchard Road marks the final destination of this architecture trip. If you still have the energy, take 30-45 minutes to explore Orchard Road. The atmosphere along this street is vibrant and lively, especially in the evening. If you get hungry, consider stopping by the Lucky Plaza food court. There are many Indonesian snacks available there. If you're heading back, the nearest accessible MRT station is Orchard MRT, located approximately 500m from Apple Orchard Road.

Enjoy your trip!

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