National Gallery Singapore’s architectural teams – studioMilou Singapore and architect CPG Consultants - are moving towards completion of a major project
Due to open in late 2015 with a surface of over 64,000 sq ms and a project cost of $530m (Singapore dollars), National Gallery Singapore is set to be one of Asia’s most significant architectural projects in the cultural sphere. The new design represents a spectacular and respectful adaptive reuse and conservation project, transforming two of Singapore’s most important monuments - the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings – into one major visual arts institution presenting Singapore and Southeast Asian art. The new national art gallery now has a sculptural entrance sheltered by a spectacular curving canopy made from golden filigree and glass.
Together, studioMilou and CPG worked closely with the client teams throughout the design development and each phase of the construction to meet the challenges of conservation and the adaptation of the buildings. Meeting the exacting standards of both a major art institution and respecting the importance of safeguarding the buildings’ existing fabric have also been the most exciting characteristics of the project for both architectural teams.
The architects preserved original details including tiled floors, windows with portico mouldings and canted timber ceilings, while new elements have a limited colour palette to help unify the 64,000 sq ms of gallery space contained within the two buildings.
studioMilou partnered with CPG Consultants in 2008 to create a strong team of architects and engineers collaborating closely with the client teams on all aspects of National Gallery Singapore’s architecture and options.
From the preliminary design development to the final stages of construction now underway, studioMilou and CPG have worked intensively to master the extreme complexity of the project linked to the new glass and metal roof draping over the monuments, the extensive basement developed under the two existing buildings, the exacting restoration of the two historical buildings and the insertion of new services within the fabric of the buildings. Leong Meng Sun, Vice President (Civil & Structural Engineering) of CPG Consultants, who leads the engineering team for the project shares his experience.
“I am deeply honoured to be part of this stellar team and to be given the opportunity to rejuvenate not one, but two of Singapore’s most iconic buildings. Despite that we are already approaching the final stages of its development; I am still in awe by the magnificence and beauty of this edifice, how we managed to integrate our efforts as a team, and use innovative building methodologies on such a massive scale. Certainly, I am nothing but proud to be able to contribute a piece to Singapore’s infrastructure, for the enjoyment of many future generations to come.”
From the interior, the roof filters the harsh daylight of Singapore, bathing the spacious atrium and many of the interior spaces in natural light. Within the interiors, the original windows have been maintained and in some cases enlarged, offering visitors spectacular views of the city and seascapes. The interior colour schemes and materials have been limited, with the extensive use of wooden flooring. This unified scheme avoids stark contrasts with the historical features of the monuments and offers a calm backdrop for the many exhibitions to come.