Three finalists to battle it out

Wednesday 23 Jan 2008

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 andthe Arts (MICA) in association with the Singapore Institute of Architects, was launched inFebruary this year. It drew 111 entries from 29 countries worldwide.Recently, five shortlisted teams of architecture and design firms madepresentations on their submissions and scale models of their designs to a 7-memberinternational jury, chaired by Professor Tommy Koh, Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Largeand Chairman of the National Heritage Board. The teams were selected anonymously inStage I of the competition, based on design concept and philosophy. They included firmsfrom Australia, France, Taiwan and Singapore.

On the overall standard of submissions, Prof Koh said: “The five designs were of veryhigh quality and provided many creative and excellent design ideas for the National ArtGallery. After careful deliberation and having given due consideration to the imaginativeand creative responses to the Art Gallery’s vision, as well as their functionality andfeasibility, 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 atthe 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 existingentrances and introduces new ones to make the building porous at street level.A strong street concept runs through the buildings at basement level two, bringingvisitors down to this level via large staircases and lifts. The visitors orientate themselveshere 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 ofnew ones. Organisation of spaces takes into detailed consideration how museums andgalleries work.Of Studio Milou Architecture’s design, the Jury’s comments were that the scheme hadthe most delightful design and appeal. The extension of a staircase which leads from thebasement to the rotunda acts as a strong architectural solution that at once links thebasement and upper levels, which guides the visitor to the very heart of the formerSupreme Court. The internal circulation route overall is well-planned in relation to publicspaces. The designer has provided a good analysis of the curatorial function andrequirement within the building.

Winning Design 2: Ho + Hou Studio Architects
The design by Ho + Hou Studio Architects is inspired by The Kelong, a fragile anddelicate 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 stronginternal axis at the basement level to link the buildings. The visitors enter at B1 levelbefore 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 choiceof materials and colours. The scheme inserts a new, prominent framework of grids in thecourtyards, the language of which is carried through to the roof treatment where latticesand louvers control light admitted through a glazed roof.Of Ho + Hou Studio Architects’ design, the Jury’s comments were that it was a very wellthought through scheme on the size and arrangement of gallery and related spaces, withinteresting and imaginative use of spaces that are to be retained. It comes across asbeing 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 minimalintervention. A main entry portal located between the two monuments is a brightly litrectilinear enclosure with translucent walls that allow a view to the adjacent historic wallsof the City Hall and the former Supreme Court.The connection between various levels of the buildings weaves in and out of the portal inthe form of bridges. Visitors enter the gallery through this portal and access the galleriesand public spaces at level 2 of City Hall and at ground floor of the Former SupremeCourt building.Of Chan Sau Yan Associates’ design, the Jury’s comments were that it is a pragmaticapproach with minimal intervention, with a very good distribution of functional spaces,where circulation is straightforward and well addressed.

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