The architecture of Singapore in modern times has achieved great results in creating an innovative way of building by bringing nature at the heart of construction a new approach called biophilic architecture. Back in 2010 when the pinnacle of Singapore the marina bays sands was constructed by the famous architect Moshe Safdie whose designs always comprised nature into the buildings as an essential element and tool or fabric that has to mix up with the infrastructure to create a green urban habitat with a rapidly growing population to give the city a new symbol. The article here will provide information and collection about a few amazing architectures of Singapore where the design of it has embraced nature in the buildings that replace columns, walls, windows, signs, and neon with leaves, bark, birds, and insects creating a long term solution to global warming they are trying to include with at least 10 % of new buildings with thousand percent of nature that can rapidly retrofit a city to have the equivalent of 100 % green cover of the city.

Marina Bay sands by Moshe Safdie.

Moshe Safdie (the power of architecture) a Canadian Israeli Architect and Urban planner gave one of his major urbanism projects marina bay sands which is a landmark and reputation of Singapore an integrated resort of a 10 million square foot complex of mixed-use to encourage tourism in Singapore. The architect started to think about the site as a city not as a building and derived the idea from the famous plan of Jerusalem the Madaba plan which shows roman Jerusalem Basanta with its central cardio Maximus the central thoroughfare that communists city gates the clear structure of roman and Greek city that always had the main drag a spine kind of urban life that dragged him the thought to design to integrate the spine that he created with a promenade on the waterfront so this became an indoor and outdoor public place with cross streets as they call the framework of the city and everything else plugs into it the theatres, conventions, casino, museum, hotels are all plug-in elements into that spine which multi-level which takes in the outdoor that is partially air-conditioned and partially open, the indoor and outdoor become the urban centre of activity people also called for piazza of twenty thousand members for all night for national events.

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Marina Bay sands integrated project sketch_©safdiearchitects.com
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Marina Bay sands Singapore an urban concept_©https://unsplash.com/photos/57g6KOxGJOw

Art science museum

The government wanted the building to be the symbol of the city for which the architect was given promontory site that was stuck into the bay and to give a symbol to the building it has to serve its purpose, to have meaning so the architect propose something new that maybe has to do with the spirit of the day a museum of art and science expressed as one word a place to  explore the unity of creative process that is behind arts and science from where the design began to evolve and the building reached up as if it floats on its site and detached from the ground there are series of galleries the spaces above and below, the initial sketches of the building gave an idea to seek an irrational geometry that would make both buildable and also give a sense of order and organisation, the concept of spheres eventually embraced the geometry of spheroids kind of compressed spheres and generated something which completely mathematical a series of volumes and spaces generated by the spheroids with slightly varying radii leading to a building that has galleries above and below reaching to the light above giving a unique and unusual new kind of inventiveness that went into installing exhibits into them.

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Art science museum _ ©https://unsplash.com/photos/uh59GOIlTxk

Image edited by author

Sky Habitat by Safdie Architects.

Sky habitat Bishon project comes at the long line of evolution and development of design which the architect Moshe safdie has been working on decades seeking the maximum level of liveability for high density urban housing when years ago he designed Habitat a new concept of garden for everyone an experimental housing project for Montreal world fair expo, he tried to rethink the paradigm of how high density housing can be built on 3 acres site of sky habitat where it could have been designed in traditional and conventional way of two to three independent towers extrusion like structures separate from each other in fact the architect designed it as one continuous structure that is perforated and permeated by large openings there are bridges that connect the structure at three levels and there are gardens in the  sky and on the ground one third of the unit have actually gardens as the building steps up almost like a hillside and two third of the units have terraces and balconies all of this forms one continuous matrix of urban living. Singapore is the in the tropic which requires for building to be ventilated for shades to be created it calls for outdoor spaces, and greenery, the plant life on the building is part of this tropical setting and the building creates many opportunities for the 500 families who live in this project to come together and interact as a community.

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sky habitat_©safdiearchitects.com

Esplande Complex by DP Architects.

Singapore’s iconic building the aluminium panelled roof structure Sits on site of four hectares along the bay, limiting the civic centre and a historical district of Singapore. The site is located at the Esplanade and Marina Bay end of the tour. The design was to create a complex structure with flexible spaces to receive different types of scenic eastern and western genres according to the multi-ethnic population of Singapore. To combine within one structure both past and future projects that are devoted to most modern techniques with local tradition, with that involved two main audiences the concert hall and opera theatre and shells of sea urchins. The roof is designed with these aluminium panels lined the route as the sun, which due to its proximity to the Equator, is practically the same throughout the year. They wanted to use more glass so as not to keep the viewers away from surrounding views. But the site is located almost on the equator which received a lot of heat radiation and sunshine if more glass was used there was a need to create a way to protect it, so a unique way of cladding was introduced with 7139 aluminium shades angled at varying degrees. The sunshades were designed at varying angles to protect the building from different sun directions and yet exploit the view from inside to make sure when looking out from the foyer horizontally towards the city. These aluminium panels are arranged in a grid structure that is based on curves distorting the proportions of the diamond. 

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Esplanade complex Singapore photo by shun idota_©https://unsplash.com/photos/GUkt3E1ymAg

Image edited by author

Jewel Changi Airport by Moshe safdie.

The visitors first visit the place that is the airport where they learn about the city the Jewel Changi airport according to the thought of architects is an experience of nature and the marketplace, dramatically asserting the idea of an uplifting and vibrant urban centre bringing the travellers and residents to engage echoing Singapore’s reputation ‘’ the city in the garden’’. The building connects both existing and new terminals creating two environments an intense marketplace and a paradise garden innovating new typology into the community as the heart and the soul Changi airport reimagines the centre of the airport as a major public realm attraction and jewel offers a range of facilities for landslide operations as indoor gardens, leisure attractions, retail offerings, and hotel facilities. A distinctive dome-shaped façade made of glass and steel adds to Changi Airport’s appeal as one of the world’s leading air hubs. Based on the geometry of a torus, the building shape accommodates the programmatic need for multiple connections in the airport setting. At the heart of its glass roof is an oculus that showers water through a primary multistorey garden, five stories through to the forest-valley garden at ground level. The core of the program is a 24-hour layered garden attraction that offers many spatial and interactive experiences for visitors. Four cardinal axes—north, south, east, and west—are reinforced by four gateway gardens, which orient visitors and offer visual connections to the internal surroundings and other airport terminals.

Sky Scrapper by BIG.

The second tallest structure in Singapore designed by Italian architects with the concept of a seamless transition between the garden and the city a 51-story mixed-use capita spring building incorporating large pockets of greenery framed by sculptural façade openings. Inside there is a mix of restaurants and office spaces, alongside serviced apartments, a replacement hawker centre, and a series of gardens that aims to bring nature to the city. The building shows an example of a future vision in which the city, countryside, culture, and nature can coexist, and the green landscape for urban buildings can expand unrestricted into vertical dimensions. The lush spiralling gardens are articulated in the facades connecting various programs and filled with amenities representing a spectrum of use. The public spaces are enhanced across the building creating the best experience for all users by leveraging both technology and unprecedented integration with natural elements. The contemporary architecture with greenery is represented by Singapore’s reputation in the building design housing over 80,000 plants and vertical elements across its façade are pulled apart to frame views of the small spaces for greenery and gardens to feature as its base, middle and rooftop.

The Hive, Thomas Heatherwick studio.

Apart from the architecture of Singapore with the Marina Bay Sands, Art Science Museum, and Gardens by the Bay that is so prominent in tourism media, there are many locations outside the city that have embraced a contemporary look to their buildings also ‘The Hive’ at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is one of those locations. This building aspires to be the greenest university campus in the world that features a unique ventilation system a custom-made internal cooling for the classrooms but is most visually impressive, designed in a honeycomb-based concept wreathed in natural foliage responsible for being super attractive and environmentally friendly design.

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The Hive photo by Wengang Zhai_© https://unsplash.com/photos/mtdxswQuRoI

The hive has a total of 8 storeys with pad-like shapes that acts as tutorial rooms with comfort rooms on each floor and floor nine acts as a roof deck for the utilities and skylight awarded as the highest environmental degree of green mark platinum for its environmentally friendly design, the main atrium having the skylight at the roof scatters all throughout the building lighting up most of the corridors and spaces and saving electric energy contributing to sustainable energy, the concrete walls surrounding the stairs and elevator cores located in between the towers have been embossed over with 700 drawings by illustrator Sarah Finneli depicting images from science, art and literature very much similar to the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt that can be found until in most Egyptian tourist and bronze material elevators are used to give the building rustic material concept. The lantern-sculptured white painted columns and curved balconies in the central atrium eighth greenery and skylight above lead the entire building in a dramatic way with green elements that contrast with the concrete building inside. 

Park royal Hotel on Pickering by Woha.

The hotel is designed to be a garden with extensive features of greenery, green walls, water features, and 15000 square meters of tiered sky gardens. They wanted to create a hotel in the garden to make it a very unique selling point for the hotel and because the city is well known as a garden city the idea was to study the green replacements to achieve 2 percent of site areas as green replacements adding two new percent of blue and green areas in the building the architects went with natural and green materials like timber, granite, natural stones for which the inspiration came from rock formations that included terraces, waterfall ravines, paddy fields giving it all organic natural feeling that is meant to get off the building where practicality was also considered as to survive the garden. The building has 300m long walk around the rock around the hotel underneath the waterfall the true landscape, and rock walls the true idea was to mimic the sedimentary layer that is quite obviously seen in the elevation of the various stratum each layer of being almost half a meter deep is grooved that has got more shadows and refined than the precast concrete and glass reinforced fibre concrete for the hotel rooms. the rooms are configured in such a way that all rooms have sky terrace views which is something wonderful not only city view but also the garden views the bathrooms are placed in a way that opens to garden views to give a very good transition between scales and architecture to interiors also bringing the idea of curtain walls to give framed structure divisions into the interiors but the most interesting part of the building is people react to it so well that not only the visitors but the people walking through the building enhances its beauty.

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Park Royal Hotel_©https://www.agoda.com/parkroyal-on-pickering/hotel/singapore-sg.html?cid=1844104

Image edited by author

Interlace Apartments by OMA.

The Interlace was designed by OMA and Ole Scheeren. It consists of 31 apartment blocks that are irregularly stacked upon each other. When it comes to design the word unique is one of the most overused these days it has lost its value there is no hesitation in describing this project Interlace a capital land development in Singapore firstly the underlying philosophy behind the project that high end residential project by world-renowned architectural firms should be accessible to a wide range of people not only a few elites. It’s the design of scheeren the architect of 31 stacked blocks in a spectacular hexagonal pattern on the 8 hectares site each of these blocks has 6 levels with a maximum height reaching up to 24 storeys to provide apartments for affairs and households these interlocking blocks resemble a vertical village complete with cascading sky gardens and both public and private roof terraces but for the architect, the design is much about the open spaces created between blocks as the dramatic effect of stacking them not only do the openings help maximize the views for residence and allow light and breeze to penetrate they also create sky gardens for outdoor living together with the 8 themed courtyards and children playgrounds they also contribute the concept of the building to encourage a sense of community and multi-generational interactions for its residents.

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Inaterlace apartment by OMA_©https://arquitecturaviva.com/works/the-interlace-

Parkview square

Parkview square is an office building located on the north bridge road of downtown Singapore designed by DP architects and developed by Chyau Fwu Group in 2002. The contemporary style is a mix of postmodernism, neoclassicism, and art deco with the use of glass and steel in a minimalistic fashion. the office space on each floor is column less so that the occupants can reconfigure it according to them. The exterior façade of the building drew inspiration from bold geometric forms and bright colours that have been clad in brown granite, bronze lacquer, and glass in art deco style with high craftsmanship and rich materials which attracts the attention as the surroundings belong to modern architecture. The lobby of the building is 15m high with a ceiling in hand-crafted artwork. The open plaza of the building is like the piazza san Marco in Venice with sculptors and statues surrounding them. the façade of the building appears as if it is guarded by gargoyles in the form of sculptors the gigantic fiberglass statues of men holding light balls in their hands. at the centre of the plaza, there is a pedestal designed with a golden crane eager to fly towards its home or looking for a place of worship inspired by a depiction from a Chinese poem also believed the signature statues are placed to bring wealth to the building.

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Parkview square_ ©parkviewsquare.com.

National Gallery Singapore

Studio Milou has merged the latest art crown of Singapore the national gallery Singapore which is a mixture of courthouse and city hall with a sculpture entrance sheltered by a curving canopy made of golden filigree and glass. it is a visual art institution housing a collection of modern Singapore and Southeast Asian art. The building is in the heart of the civic district, the gallery is housed in the city hall and the former supreme court. The buildings form an example of rejuvenating old historic to contemporary forms to maintain a balance between heritage and modernity. In1929 the building was declared as a municipal building designed by Frank Dorrington Ward later named a city hall building. The buildings represent blending contemporary fabric into history the idea was to conserve the heritage, to cover the two Corinthian ionic columns with sculptural reliefs that are added in the form of golden flat aluminium plates that resembles a golden ribbon veil. the city hall courtyard is encased with atriums made of glass and light is filtered through the reflective pools on the roof top level that helps to keep the temperature low. Studio Milou has linked the two buildings with bridges with the canopy roof and the veil supported by beams in the tree-like structure as supporting elements to create a minimum footprint with maximum roof support. The architect desired to add layers to the history rather than change the essential aspects of the monument.

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National Gallery Singapore_ ©https://www.timeout.com/singapore/art/national-gallery-singapore.

House of Tan Teng Niah, Singapore

Built in the 1900s this two-story bungalow with vivid colorful walls known as the last remains of a historic Chinese villa is the house of Tan Teng Niah located at 37 kerbau road away from Little India MRT station Singapore. During that time the neighborhood was an industrial zone many Singapore Chinese businessmen lived in similar villas. In 20 the century the neighborhood evolved into now known as Little India and old merchant houses were changed to modern commercial buildings however this Tan Teng villa survived and was restored and is now preserved as a landmark and heritage site. With such an interesting historical background the building attracts the viewers with its rainbow color palette as the exteriors are painted in a rainbow riot of vivid colors with every element, individual slat molding panel, and pilaster. An array of sky blue, avocado green, traffic-cone orange, highlighter yellow, and nail-polish pink shades adorn the house adding further embellishments beyond the Psychedelic color palette including gilded Chinese calligraphy, intricate floral lunettes, and a bamboo tiled roof. The building is one of the extraordinary buildings of Singapore which is now rented for commercial purposes.

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House of Tan Teng Niah_©https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/house-of-tan-teng-niah

The School of Art, Design & Media at Nanyang Technological University campus, Singapore. 

The stunning piece of architecture designed by CPG consultants the building is composed of three interwoven wings with an undulating green roof and a sunken courtyard in the centre. the building forms a series of roofs with grass that refuse to exile from the action. From the park-like landscape designed in the school, these roofs rise gently arching up to hold the glass-mirrored buildings below. These roofs act as interaction zones for students and administration as well as visitors gathering and encouraging non-linear thinking. Besides the roofs provides services architecturally like insulating the building, harvesting rainwater, and cooling the surrounding air contributing to keeping the temperature low and sustainable environment.

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Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design, and Media by CPG Consultants_©https://www.arch2o.com/green-roofs-at-nanyang-technological-universitys-school-of-art-design-and-media-cpg-consultants.

Gardens by the Bay a nature park in central Singapore

Designed by Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter, Wilkinson Eyre the unique nature park enhances the flora of the city, having the most interesting element the super tree Grove and flower Dome which is the biggest greenhouse in the world. completed in 2012 the 101 hectares are spanned as green architecture demonstrating a perfect balance of innovation and technology with 17000 square meters of spectacular greenhouses, also showcasing a link between man and nature. the 18 concrete and steel structures with a height of 25 to 50m are designed with vertical gardens based on sustainable principles welcoming one million plants from all over the world. The structure is designed to collect water and is equipped with geothermal systems and solar panels capable of powering the entire park. the two most eye-catching parts of the park are the flower dome which houses seven different gardens with a typical Mediterranean climate standing without columns. the second one is cloud forest is a replica of mountains and represents the humid climate of tropical regions. The park is divided into three sections the east garden of 32 hectares provides a walk of one mile along the banks of the marina reservoir, the south garden is inspired by orchids and the symbol of the tropics of Singapore the central park connects the two gardens with 3km walk giving the visitors an essence of forest, nature, and amazing views of greenery with lights in the evenings in the heart of city life.

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Gardens by the Bay a nature park in central Singapore_©ybestplace.com/en/article/gardens-by-the-bay-the-magnificent-gardens-of-singapore.

Oasia Hotel Downtown By WOHA

A new concept of a living tower was introduced in the building name Oasia hotel designed by WOHA characterizing the exterior envelope of the building with red aluminum mesh cladding allowing biodiversity of plants, birds, and insects to coexist in the city life with a series of sky gardens. The bright green tower was added in the middle of the central business district as a model of urban tropics land use intensification. the tower has layers of sky gardens provided to carve the interior spaces and dynamic views instead of relying on exterior views of surroundings, each sky garden is designed in the form of an urban verandah protected with high altitudes by a previous sky garden which is kept open for formal and visual transparency. The open areas allow the wind to circulate in the structure so the air-conditioned is turned off for rooms, and public spaces giving the environment a tropical effect with natural light and fresh air. Bringing the bioarchitecture into a metropolis that adequately compensates for what is not available in the surrounding adjacent 10 buildings, the red metal coating is provided to house 21 different species of creepers with colorful blooms interwoven amid green foliage inviting birds and insects for shelter and food. The creepers are forming mosaics with their form and kind taking over their preferred light and wind conditions.

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Oaisa Hotel by WOHA_©https://parametric-architecture.com/oasia-hotel-downtown-is-a-model-of-urban-tropics-land-use-intensification/

References:

Charlotte, joy. (2021) History of Tan Teng Niah House. Available at: https://thesmartlocal.com/read/tan-teng-niah-house/

Chua, Alvin. (2015) Gardens by the Bay. Available at: https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_2012-06-26_095923.html

Design and architecture (2015). The Architecture of National Gallery Singapore. Available at: https://www.designandarchitecture.com/article/the-architecture-of-national-gallery-singapore.html

Jiat-Hwee,Chang. and Justin, Zhuang. (2022) Everyday Modernism Architecture and Society in Singapore Singapore: National university of Singapore press

Karl van, Es. (2019) The must-see architecture in Singapore. Available at: https://www.avontuura.com/must-see-singapore/

Ikiz,Utkum,Serra. (2022) Oasia Hotel Downtown is a model of urban tropics land use intensification.Available at: https://parametric-architecture.com/oasia-hotel-downtown-is-a-model-of-urban-tropics-land-use-intensification/

OMA (2022) The interlace residential complex Singapore.Available at:https://www.designboom.com/architecture/oma-the-interlace-residential-complex-singapore/

National gallery Singapore, Available at: https://www.nationalgallery.sg/about/building/history

Powell, Robert. (2004) SingaporeArchiteure. Singapore:Periplus publications.

Safdie, Moshe. (2014) Safdie architects.Available at: https://www.safdiearchitects.com/projects/jewel-changi-airport

Author

Salma sultana graduated master’s in architecture from the Iuav university of architecture Italy, born in 1992, and obtained her bachelor's from India, she works for her own architecture practice named Zahaa designs. She likes to be a curator of architecture exhibitions also curated for the la biennale exhibition in Arsenale in Venezia. She a Ph.D. student of a german university in Brandenburg working on historical architecture conservation her final achievement in the field of architecture is to create an innovative sustainable solution for concrete and bring awareness by joining a teaching profession in the sustainable architecture department.

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