Singapore, known for its modern and cosmopolitan appeal, is a city that boasts a captivating blend of architectural wonders. From sleek skyscrapers to meticulously preserved heritage buildings, Singapore’s architecture reflects its vibrant past, dynamic present, and ambitious future. In this article, we invite you to embark on a journey through the city’s architectural landscape as we explore 10 iconic landmarks and modern marvels.
1. Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport serves as an impressive introduction to the city with its remarkable architecture. Established in 1981, this airport encompasses five terminals and boasts some of the world’s most exceptional architectural designs, surpassing expectations for an airport. Notably, it features extraordinary amenities like the world’s largest butterfly garden, a movie theatre, a spa, and a playground. Once you have explored these captivating attractions, make sure to visit the Rain Vortex, a source of great pride for Changi Airport.
This astonishing indoor waterfall stands tall at 40 metres and is surrounded by a climate-controlled indoor forest showcasing over 200 species of exotic plants. It is worth noting that the Rain Vortex is an eco-friendly marvel, utilising 10,000 gallons of rainwater per minute, which is subsequently recycled within the building.
2. Marina Bay Sands
Dominating the skyline, the iconic Marina Bay Sands is a true architectural marvel that has become synonymous with the city’s skyline. With its three soaring towers connected by a stunning skybridge and crowned by a gravity-defying rooftop infinity pool, it has become an internationally recognized symbol of Singapore.Marina Bay Sands also boasts a luxury hotel, a vast convention centre, a shopping mall with high-end boutiques, a wide array of dining options, and a state-of-the-art casino. This architectural gem has not only redefined Singapore’s skyline but has also become a symbol of the city’s modernity, luxury, and grandeur.
3. Helix Bridge
Witness the architectural brilliance of Singapore with The Helix Bridge. Serving as a stunning link between the Marina Bay Sands complex and the National Arts Performing Centre, this bridge of only a modest 280 metres transports you into a futuristic realm as soon as you step onto it.
The bridge’s captivating design features a mesmerising curved structure enveloped within a double helix, drawing inspiration from the intricate geometry of a DNA strand. Constructed over a period of six years, The Helix Bridge is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to innovative design. To fully appreciate its charm, we recommend taking an evening stroll when the LED lights illuminate the pathway, creating a picturesque scene that is truly unforgettable.
4. Old Parliament House
Renowned as The Arts House today, the Old Parliament House stands as a remarkable testament to Singapore’s colonial history, likely being the oldest surviving colonial structure in the country. Originally constructed in 1826, the building was the brainchild of architect G.D. Coleman, who designed it as a neo-Palladian residence.
Recognizing its historical and architectural significance, the former Parliament House was designated as a national monument in 1992. Subsequently, in 2003, it was thoughtfully transformed into The Arts House, becoming a beacon for the arts community in Singapore ever since.
5. Parkview Square
Born from the collaborative efforts of Singapore’s DP Architects and James Adams Design from the USA, Parkview Square is a remarkable creation, set apart by its remarkable Art Deco-inspired design. The exterior of Parkview Square is a sight to behold, showcasing a majestic fusion of bronze and glass. Locals have affectionately dubbed it ‘the Gotham building,’ a fitting moniker considering its striking resemblance to the fictional cityscape of Batman’s world.
Inside, the Art Deco influence continues to inspire, particularly in the building’s lobby, where Atlas, a dedicated gin bar, has found its home. Atlas captivates visitors with its three-storey-tall tower housing an extensive collection of rare and limited edition gin varieties, ensuring an unforgettable experience within this architectural masterpiece.
6. Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay
Affectionately known as the “durian” by locals due to its distinctive resemblance to the spiky tropical fruit, the Esplanade is a prominent arts and cultural hub. Its striking design combines cutting-edge architecture with a nod to traditional Malay and Indonesian influences, hosting a diverse range of performances, including music, dance, theatre, and visual arts, captivating audiences with its world-class productions.
With its waterfront location and stunning views of the city skyline, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay has become a vibrant hub for artistic expression, cultural exchange, and community engagement, solidifying its place as an architectural and cultural gem in Singapore.
7. Raffles Hotel
A symbol of colonial grandeur, Raffles Hotel stands as an enduring tribute to Singapore’s history. The elegant architecture and timeless charm of this iconic hotel have attracted illustrious guests for over a century, making it a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. Among its many claims to fame, the hotel is inseparable from the creation of the famous Singapore Sling cocktail.
Concocted in the early 20th century by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, the Singapore Sling has become an enduring symbol of Singapore’s cocktail culture. Sipping a Singapore Sling in the hotel’s renowned Long Bar, amidst the ambiance of colonial charm, is a quintessential experience for visitors seeking a taste of Singapore’s storied past.
8. ArtScience Museum
Located within the Marina Bay Sands complex, the ArtScience Museum is a captivating structure inspired by the lotus flower and resembles a welcoming hand. Its unique design, featuring ten distinct “fingers” that extend outwards each house different exhibition spaces. The sweeping curves and flowing lines create a sense of harmony and fluidity, mirroring the museum’s emphasis on the intersection of art and science.
The building’s distinctive shape is not only visually striking but also serves a functional purpose, as the curved roof collects rainwater that is then channelled into an impressive waterfall inside the museum.
This architectural masterpiece combines aesthetic appeal with sustainable design, further enhancing the overall experience of visitors to the ArtScience Museum. The museum truly integrates art and science and showcases the intersection between creativity and technology.
9. Henderson Waves
In Singapore, grandeur is the name of the game, and Henderson Waves stands proudly among the city’s impressive achievements. Holding the title of Singapore’s tallest footbridge, it soars 36 metres above the picturesque Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park.
The bridge’s design is nothing short of captivating, resembling a living, dynamic structure that emerges gracefully from the surrounding cityscape. What makes it even more remarkable is that Henderson Waves is constructed entirely from certified sustainable timber, responsibly sourced from farms in East Malaysia.
Accessible to all free of charge, the walkway has garnered popularity among joggers, birdwatchers, and families who appreciate the shaded alcoves provided along the way. With its unparalleled panoramic views, Henderson Waves is swiftly etching its place as a new Singaporean landmark, offering a unique vantage point that captures the essence of this captivating city.
Last but certainly not least, the mythical Merlion is the iconic symbol of Singapore. It reigns as the pride and joy of the island nation, drawing millions of tourists to its presence. The park itself bears the name of this legendary creature, a majestic combination of a lion’s head and a fish’s body. According to ancient tales, a Malaysian prince named Sang Nila Utama encountered a lion upon his arrival at the shores of Singapore, then known as Temasek. This remarkable encounter inspired him to christen the island Singapura, which would later evolve into the name we know today—Singapore. The Merlion and its enchanting folklore continue to captivate visitors, leaving an indelible impression of Singapore’s rich heritage.
These 10 landmarks represent just a glimpse into Singapore’s architectural wonders. As you traverse the city, you’ll encounter a multitude of awe-inspiring structures that reflect Singapore’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and honouring its rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply a curious traveller, exploring Singapore’s architectural marvels is an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your journey through this remarkable city.