There are many architectural treasures in Singapore that define and exhibit her history, goals and maybe projects her people’s’ aspirations. Apart from the over publicised iconic places that tourists would often flock to (like Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Art Science Museum and more buildings of alike), there are iconic architectural designs that even architects and designers themselves feel affectionately attached to.
If you are one who seeks to walk the unbeaten path while you are in Singapore and would love to take a look at the beautiful architecture here, read on for a list of buildings that may just be the trail to spend your time in or be your photography spots – and we don’t just mean the soaring skyscrapers of the CBD.
In the 70s, Singapore was experimenting with European urban planning solutions for higher density living. It was an amazing time for architects and builders to explore building possibilities and Golden Mile is one of the first of it. Golden Mile Complex was designed as a small fragment (rather like a typical block to be multiplied) to form a linear block that mimics and traces the coastline. Its staggering form, in the vertical plane, is to improve ventilation and provide protective shade for the interior spaces. But the multiplication and extensions never did get realised.
Designed by Design Partnership and completed in 1973, its brutalist design makes this building a popular place amongst edgy dwellers in Singapore to desire place there while these homeowners give their interiors a modern facelift. Today, Golden Mile has transformed and is known as Singapore’s “Little Thailand”, the home to a treasure trove of Thai eateries, pubs and some occult stores while also being the primary drop off for buses travelling between Singapore and Malaysia.
Golden Mile Complex, 5001 Beach Road, Singapore 199588
Pearl Bank Apartments
Another early study for high rise, high-density living, the Pearl Bank Apartment stands at 113 metres. It was the tallest and densest residential building in Singapore back in 1970s. Its design is driven by a horseshoe plan with interlocking levels. The horseshoe opening is directed to receive the afternoon sun, which in turn also allows for a reduction in the exposure of unwanted sunlight to hit the exterior walls of the buildings, keeping the interiors cool for longer throughout the day.
Pearl Bank Apartments, 1 Pearl Bank, Singapore 169016
A highly intricate and complex looking structure that takes the form similar to the tower of Jenga game, The Colonnade is a conceptually modular building of success in the study of high density, vertical housing. It is also the first in Singapore to feature an elevated first level which creates an airy ground level, encouragingly airy arrival. In time, this ground level space translates into the void decks for communal gatherings and activities at public housing in Singapore. The Colonnade was designed by Paul Rudolph and completed in 1987.
The Colonnade, 82 Grange Rd, Singapore 249587
If you like The Colonnade, chances are that The Interlace is a development that would pique your interest. It attained the 2015 title’ Winner of World Building of the Year’ in the World Architecture Festival. This development was design intent was to create a ‘vertical village’ by OMA and Ole Shereen. Taken a form like a blown up game Of pick up sticks made livable, the dazzling condominium against the backdrop of rigid public housing. The gaps between each of the 31 six-storey apartment blocks made way for facilities and communal spaces for its residents. Vertical village? We think that it is a beautiful maze made with highly detailed ‘ Rubik’s cube’ of living spaces.
The Interlace, 200 Depot Road, Singapore 109694
If you are a Batman fan, live your superhero fantasy with this skyscraper that resembles one out of Gotham City. Designed by Singapore’s DP Architects and James Adams Design of USA, the building is decked in granite, glass, bronze lacquer and Art Deco flair. Parkview Square’s opulent facade showcases flamboyant details that is hard pressed to find in the streets of Singapore and the best part? It is located near Bugis MRT Station, making it accessible for a quick visit and to snap pictures with bronze effigies of famous icons, sculptures of gargoyles while checking out the art galleries, museums and also the shopping sites. If you are visiting in the evening, be sure to swing by the bar at the lobby and get yourself some delicious gin.
Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778
Formally the City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, it is now the National Gallery, housing several records of Singapore’s history in them with the mix of fresh and new exhibitions from time to time. They were both constructed in the 1920s and been central to many historical milestones of Singapore. So apart from going from artwork to artwork that is exhibited, indulge in the building’s details and grandeur, both interior and exteriors. They are, after all, part of the whole artistic experience too.
1 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957
Featuring beautifully restored facades, the heritage shophouses may just be the most charming form of iconic architecture on this list. You can spot them in many accessible places like Chinatown, Bugis, Katong and Joo Chiat. They are a glimpse of the type of buildings that were built in the past before the 70s. Cladded with Peranakan tiles, french windows and Malay timber fretwork, they are not only perfect to ogle at, but also great for snapshots as a keepsake.