Building the future: Singapore’s stunning architectural projects
10:17 PM EST, Tue November 3, 2015
With a total land area less than 750 square kilometers, Singapore is among the smallest countries in the world. Therefore, the city-state has always been challenged with two big limitations -- space and population size.
Despite these challenges, Singapore is home to more than 5.5 million people and has a GDP per capita equal to that of leading European nations -- paving the way globally for countries now facing rapid urbanization.
With a skyline recognized across the world, the story of Singapore -- past, present, and future -- can be told through its buildings. Click through the gallery to discover the buildings that helped Singapore prosper to be one of the leading economies in the world.
Towering above the rest —
Arguably the most well-known feature of Singapore's skyline today, the Marina Bay Sands hotel has set all eyes on Singapore with its integrated resort and prime location on the waterfront.
A ship over the port —
Completed in 2013, the resort -- designed by Safdie architects -- spans 16 hectares and includes a three-towered 57-storey hotel, an exhibition center, a casino, a 1.3 hectare SkyPark, a rooftop infinity pool, and several restaurants and shops.
Constructing curves —
The skyline of Singapore reveals a range of styles and designs spanning different periods of the country's brief history.
Perched on a hillside, the Pearl bank apartments were completed in 1976 and at the time, the tower was the tallest residential building in Singapore. Today, it has become somewhat of a historic landmark through its role as high-rise pioneer.
The 38-storey, near-cylindrical tower houses 272 apartments with views over the city. The building was designed for the country's tropical climate in mind with the curved building orientated to avoid afternoon sun and slits incorporated between storeys by architect Tan Cheng Siong to aid ventilation into an internal courtyard.
Courtesy Hung Truong
Getting smart —
Completed in 2000, the 52-storey Capital Tower in Singapore's financial district is the fourth tallest building in the city-state. But more notably, the tower was the first intelligent building in Singapore.
The skyscraper -- designed by RSP architects -- was ahead of the technological and environmental game with its integrated building management system. This includes real-time maps displaying spaces in its car park, sensor-activated exhaust fans and the use of NEWater -- water recycled from sewage -- for non-domestic water services.
Brutal buildings —
The Golden Mile Complex dates back to 1974 and was built during a period of creativity, as architects experimented with designs to manage urban density soon after Singapore's independence.
Based on brutalist design -- like the Barbican in London -- the building embraced ideas of a mixed space, containing commercial, office, residential and entertainment space in one complex as a solution to high density living. According to DP architects behind the design, "the project was programmed as a 16-storey 'vertical city' containing all the amenities needed for urban life."
The staggered design aims to provide shade for the tropical climate whilst simultaneously enhancing ventilation. The two vertical towers -- dubbed 'bookends' -- were designed to channel and provide horizontal wind loads.
Courtesy William Cho
Making waves —
Not just any ordinary bridge, the Henderson waves form the tallest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and are built as a series of seven waves located 36 meters above street-level.
Completed in 2008, the public space -- built by RSP architects and IJP corporation -- connects a series of hills, parks and trails.
The bridge is 274m-long and 8m-wide, connecting Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill and forms part of the larger Southern Ridges trail spanning 10km of green, open space.
Gardens in the sky —
In contrast to the dense urban environment of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is part of the government's overall strategy to transform Singapore into a "City in a garden," -- and took just 4 years and $1 billion to create.
The gardens include steel-framed Supertrees -- opened in 2012 -- which vary in height from 25-50 meters and have large canopies providing shade. The 18 Supertrees further enhance Singapore's status as a green city by generating solar power, acting as air-venting ducts and harvesting rainwater.
Lotus by the sea —
The lotus-inspired ArtScience museum, opened in 2011, is another design by Moshe Safdie.
Ten "fingers" extend from the base at the middle with skylights at the end of each providing sustainable light inside the exhibition space. The curved shape also enables rainwater harvesting as water is collected into a pond at the base of the building.
Getting connected —
This dramatic stack of building blocks is considered one of the largest and most ambitious residential projects in Singapore. Known as The Interlace -- by OMA/Ole Scheeren -- the development was completed in 2013 and contains 31 blocks positioned as a network of social and living spaces.
The residential property spans 8 hectares with eight interconnected courtyards maintaining Singapore's theme of green living environments.
With parts already in-use and the rest due to open in 2016, the South Beach area of Singapore has just gotten greener with the new Beach Road complex by Foster and Partners.
The development occupies an entire block in downtown Singapore and combines new construction with the renovation of existing buildings to result in the two towers and canopy forming the complex. In addition to planting greenery and using of solar panels, the structures will capture and redirect air flow to cool the space for those using it.
The design follows the trend of 'mixed space ' common across Singapore -- and the world -- where living and working environments are brought together.
Courtesy Foster and Partners
Lush Living —
Due for completion in 2017, the Marina One complex on the Marina bay skyline will consist of four towers -- 2 office and 2 residential -- and a retail space surrounding 65,000 square feet of lush greenery and water features. It will further continue Singapore's current quest for green development.
Daring duo —
Nearby to South beach lie two towers currently in development and due to for completion in 2017.
Following the trend towards mixed space, the twin towers -- known as DUO -- will include residential accommodation, offices, a hotel and a retail gallery. Designed by architect Ole Scheeren the towers will connect underground metro stations and include roof-top greenery.
For the third year in a row, Singapore Changi Airport has earned the World's Best Airport title at the annual SkyTrax World Airport Awards. The city-state is clearly doing something right when it comes to air travel -- the airport already contains gardens, a movie theater and butterfly park -- and they've no plans to stop there.
With the same architect behind Marina bay sands resort -- Moshe Safdie -- plans for the airport's swanky new addition were revealed in 2014. Known as the 'jewel' the new complex will contain an even more lush garden, this time complete with hiking trails and a waterfall for the restless traveler stuck in transit.