Announcement of top three winning design teams for National Art Gallery
The international jury panel for the National Art Gallery of Singapore architectural design competition has named the top three winning designs.
They are in the following order:
(1) Studio Milou Architecture from France, in collaboration with CPG Consultants from Singapore
(2) Ho + Hou Studio Architects, a Taiwan-based architectural firm, in collaboration with AEDAS Pte Ltd from Singapore
(3) Chan Sau Yan Associates, a Singapore-based architectural firm, in collaboration with Lekker Design Pte Ltd
The competition, organised by Singapore’s Ministry of Information, Communications and
the Arts (MICA) in association with the Singapore Institute of Architects, was launched in
February this year. It drew 111 entries from 29 countries worldwide.
Recently, five shortlisted teams of architecture and design firms made
presentations on their submissions and scale models of their designs to a 7-member
international jury, chaired by Professor Tommy Koh, Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large
and Chairman of the National Heritage Board. The teams were selected anonymously in
Stage I of the competition, based on design concept and philosophy. They included firms
from Australia, France, Taiwan and Singapore.
On the overall standard of submissions, Prof Koh said: “The five designs were of very
high quality and provided many creative and excellent design ideas for the National Art
Gallery. After careful deliberation and having given due consideration to the imaginative
and creative responses to the Art Gallery’s vision, as well as their functionality and
feasibility, the Jury have decided on the top three designs that best met the brief.”
Winning Design 1: Studio Milou Architecture
The design scheme by Studio Milou Architecture elegantly integrates the two buildings at
the roof level, with the use of a linear draped canopy, supported by tree like columns,
while respecting the fabric of the existing monuments. The scheme respects the existing
entrances and introduces new ones to make the building porous at street level.
A strong street concept runs through the buildings at basement level two, bringing
visitors down to this level via large staircases and lifts. The visitors orientate themselves
here before making their way up into the higher levels of the art gallery. Internal,
dramatic new spaces are created via extension of existing staircases and introduction of
new ones. Organisation of spaces takes into detailed consideration how museums and
Of Studio Milou Architecture’s design, the Jury’s comments were that the scheme had
the most delightful design and appeal. The extension of a staircase which leads from the
basement to the rotunda acts as a strong architectural solution that at once links the
basement and upper levels, which guides the visitor to the very heart of the former
Supreme Court. The internal circulation route overall is well-planned in relation to public
spaces. The designer has provided a good analysis of the curatorial function and
requirement within the building.
Winning Design 2: Ho + Hou Studio Architects
The design by Ho + Hou Studio Architects is inspired by The Kelong, a fragile and
delicate structure that was commonly found off the coast of Singapore back in the 1970s.
The scheme keeps the identities of the two buildings separate but creates a strong
internal axis at the basement level to link the buildings. The visitors enter at B1 level
before making their way through a range of terraced galleries, shops and retail spaces.
The scheme continues the Kelong theme in terms of architectural forms and the choice
of materials and colours. The scheme inserts a new, prominent framework of grids in the
courtyards, the language of which is carried through to the roof treatment where lattices
and louvers control light admitted through a glazed roof.
Of Ho + Hou Studio Architects’ design, the Jury’s comments were that it was a very well
thought through scheme on the size and arrangement of gallery and related spaces, with
interesting and imaginative use of spaces that are to be retained. It comes across as
being respectful of the distinct and separate identities of the buildings.
Winning Design 3: Chan Sau Yan Associates
The design by Chan Sau Yan Associates is an understated scheme with minimal
intervention. A main entry portal located between the two monuments is a brightly lit
rectilinear enclosure with translucent walls that allow a view to the adjacent historic walls
of the City Hall and the former Supreme Court.
The connection between various levels of the buildings weaves in and out of the portal in
the form of bridges. Visitors enter the gallery through this portal and access the galleries
and public spaces at level 2 of City Hall and at ground floor of the Former Supreme
Of Chan Sau Yan Associates’ design, the Jury’s comments were that it is a pragmatic
approach with minimal intervention, with a very good distribution of functional spaces,
where circulation is straightforward and well addressed.