Travel guide: Singapore

November 13, 2012 /

Singapore, Singapore

Cooled Conservatories at the Marina South Gardens. Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.

Singapore is branding itself as the "Capital of Vertical Green" - an expression, which reflects its ambition to project an emerging green profile, in harmony with an intense urban experience.

We went to experience Singapore and to discover how architecture plays a key role in Singapore's strategy for promoting green economic growth. Having invested ambitiously in sustainable urban development, Singapore is now one of the frontrunners in the field of green urban solutions (water recycling, public transport, green urban spaces etc.). These are especially visible in recent urban interventions along the waterfront and in green pockets in the city.

Below is our selection of the most interesting and recent projects, which play an important role in the realization of Singapore's urban strategy and offers visitors great architectural experiences.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, designed by Moshe Safdie in 2009, is part of a massive multifunctional complex, including (besides the hotel): Singapore ArtScience Museum, a casino, a luxury shopping center, a convention and congress center, restaurants, bars and several other entertainment facilities. The sheer scale of this urban intervention and the broad combination of urban functions make this complex uniquely outstanding and ambitious. The Marina Bay Sands crowns the complex as a blatantly monumental building. Its distinctive architecture is spectacular, with a curved, boat-shaped, steel structure balanced between the hotels' curved towers.

The exhilarating experience of standing on the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands is best illustrated by the enclosed video. It shows a BASE jump event from the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which was part of the 2012 New Year celebrations - See the video

Also see the feature on about Marina Bay Sands

Location: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 01895

Marina-Sands-1.JPGMarina Bay Sands Hotel. Photo: Gustavo RibeiroMarina-Sands-4.JPG
Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.

ArtScience Museum

The iconic lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum has been referred to as 'the welcoming hand of Singapore' and is indeed an outstanding adding to the Singapore Harbor. The ArtScience Museum was inaugurated in 2011 as a part of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort by Safdie Architects. It consists of two principle parts; the ground structure with a giant lily pond, and a flower-like structure made of 10 petals or 'fingers' of varying hights anchored by a round base in the middle. Inside the museum is 21 gallery spaces with the curved walls illuminated by skylights placed in the 'fingertips'. In line with Singapore's sustainable urban strategy the building has integrated rainwater harvesting through the dish-like roof channeling the water through the central atrium of the building creating a 35-meter water drop into a small, reflecting pool. The rainwater is then recycled for use in the building's restrooms.

For more information about the museum architecture, opening hours and ticket purchase, see Marina Bay Sands' website

Location: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 01895

Artscience-Museum-Singapore-1.jpgPhoto: Silke Baron.

Photo: Silke Baron.

Marina Barrage

The large spiral-shaped dam, Marina Barrage was designed by the Singapore Architects Team 3 Pte Ltd. It was inaugurated in 2008. Marina Barrage serves as Singapore's largest freshwater reservoir, but is also a recreational urban space and a measure to prevent flooding in this low-lying area. Inside the building is an interactive, multimedia exhibition, which informs citizens and visitors about sustainable water usage and the environment. Marina Barrage also has a restaurant, a green roof and a 1200 m² photovoltaic cell array. Marina Barrage has received a number of international honors for outstanding sustainable engineering and for its recreational outdoor spaces.

See a virtual guided tour in Marina Barrage

Read more about the Marina Barrage on Sustainable Cities' website

Location: 260 Marina Way, Singapore City 018976

Photo: Jack Lee.

Photo: yuumin.

Photo: TimLee90.

Photo: TimLee90.

Supertrees in the Marina South Gardens

Marina South Gardens was inaugurated in July 2012 and was designed by the UK landscape architecture office Grant Associates in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, as part of the Gardens By The Bay project. Marina South Gardens is a 54-hectare park next to the Marina Bay Sands. The project represents an innovative blend of architecture, landscape design and green technology, embodied in the impressive Supertrees - 18 vertical structures of reinforced concrete and steel, reaching to heights of between 25 and 50 meters. The trees are connected by sky bridges, which allow visitors to experience the garden at an altitude of 22 meters above ground level.

Read more in the Blog: Singapore Supertrees

For more information, see Gardens by the Bay

Singapore supertrees
Supertrees in Marina South Gardens. Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.

Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.

Esplanade Theatres on the Bay - Singapore Concert Hall

The Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay complex was designed by DP Architects (DPA) of Singapore and the London-based Michael Wilford & Partners (MWP), and was inaugurated in 2002. The Esplanade's Theatres include Singapore's largest performing stage. It is 39 m long and has a capacity of about 2,000 seats. Spread over four levels, it is designed for all genres of the performing arts, ranging from advanced multimedia performances to small intimate concerts. The Esplanade Theatres also houses library@esplanade, a shopping mall, restaurants and outdoor venues. Due to its architectural design and the 'prickly' façade, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay has been compared to the local tropical fruit durian, which is why the locals have nicknamed it "the durians".

More information on the Esplanade Theatres' website

Location: 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981

Photo: Formulax.
Photo: CooKeeN.

Photo: Calvin Teo.

Reflections at Keppel Bay

Reflections at Keppel Bay, Studio Daniel Libeskind's first residential project in Singapore, were completed in 2011. The residential development's characteristic curved glass towers were calculated to create a powerful contrast between highly individual architecture and nature - original or reclaimed - for a sense of high drama and monumental impact. From a distance the towers appear to sprout from a green forest. The residential complex consists of 6 high-rise towers, ranging from 24 and 41 stories, and 11 low-rise villa apart­ment blocks of 6-8 stories.  The development is part of a waterfront development with a 750-metre promenade, several recreational facilities and a marina.

See more projects on by Studio Daniel Libeskind

Location: 2 Keppel Bay Vista, Marina at Keppel Bay Singapore 098382

Reflections at Keppel Bay. Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.

Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.


Fusionopolis is a research and development complex located at the One-North business park in Singapore. The building (originally called "Techpolis") was designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, and was inaugurated in 2008. The complex houses various research organizations, high-tech companies, government agencies, retail outlets and serviced apartments. In addition to business space, the two-tower-cum-podium complex also contains a clubhouse, a rooftop swimming pool, a theatre, sky gardens etc.

Read more about Fusionpolis on

Location: one-north, Singapore

Fusionopolis-Singapore-1.jpgPhoto: Kok Leng Yeo.

Fusionopolis-Singapore-2.jpgPhoto: Kok Leng Yeo.

Forest Walk

Forest Walk is part of Singapore's ambitious Park Connector Network, which is designed to cover a 300-kilometre green circuit throughout the city by 2015. Forest Walk consists of a light and unobtrusive bridge structure, which at varying heights places the visitor right in the middle of a verdant tropical forest. As one moves through the environment created by these meandering walkways, one quite forgets that this park lies in the middle of a metropolis with a population of five million. The Forest Walk is designed by Look Architects.

Location: Forest Walk, Telok Blangah Hill Park

Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.
Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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