Groundbreaking ceremony held for Singapore's largest visual arts venue
Construction work has commenced on a $320m linkage project in Singapore, where two 80 year old buildings – City Hall and the former Supreme Court building – are to be joined by an elegant canopy structure to form the National Art Gallery. Designed by French practice Studio Milou Architecture with local firm CPH Consultants, the symbolic union of the two historic structures will ‘help strengthen Singapore as a Global City for the Arts’, said Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Mr. Lui Tuck Yew.
A fine metal mesh will be used to envelop most of City Hall, with a spacious rooftop plaza topping the facilities. This plaza and accompanying gardens will afford stunning panoramic views across the Padang and the Marina Bay area, with space to host creative art installations, public programmes and a variety of restaurants. This elevated space will form part of a free entry programme, where tourists and members of the public will be allowed to access certain areas of the Gallery with no cost. Other areas included in this scheme include the Singapore Gallery and Children’s Gallery.
With a floor space of 60,000 sq m, the National Art Gallery will become the largest visual arts venue in Singapore when it is completed in 2014. Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Mr. Lui Tuck Yew referred to the Gallery as ‘a people’s museum’, where visitors ‘can enjoy a comprehensive and vivid display of Singaporean, Southeast Asian and International art that reflects our artistic heritage and position at the crossroads of East and West’. In addition to the linking of the two main buildings, the entire complex will undergo extensive preservation, remodeling and building works.
Michael Koh, CEO of the National Heritage Board and National Art Gallery, Singapore explained: “The former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings are icons in their own right. We have a challenging task of rejuvenating these buildings into an art museum of international stature while maintaining a deep respect for the original architecture of these buildings.” A key feature of the former Supreme Court facade – the tympanum of Justice – will be replicated in smaller form at the Building History Gallery and displayed alongside replicas of the friezes of the former Supreme Court and its Corinthian Columns for visitors to enjoy.