The design for the New National Art Gallery in Singapore will not only add a new dimension to culture and art in Singapore, but will forge an identity that celebrates the iconic architectural heritage and historical significance of these two national monuments. It will become a showcase for new information and a platform for artistic expression, a place for thought, discussion and reflection, but most of all, a dynamic presence as an international hub for the visual arts.
The New Art Gallery will look beyond national and regional Southeast Asian boundaries, and will introduce the visual arts of Southeast Asia to a global audience. It will also become a new focal point for the education and inspiration of visitors from Singapore and around the world, contributing to the study and research of Southeast Asian art.
The project will provide multiple spatial experiences, from a striking topological physical presence that will transform and link the original Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, to a more homemorphic one that is continuously bending and stretching within the existing buildings creating therefore new dynamic spaces.
This transformation is achieved with a sculptural form that weaves and binds the fabric of the existing galleries. Conceptually derived from the image of the Merlion, the waving forms of this important symbol are represented in the flowing elements of the new structure.
Placed centrally between the existing buildings the Gaussian Joint will offer a new dynamic and fluid space, one that is partially visible externally but with breath-taking architectural effects upon entry. The new monumental entrance offers an impressive vertical foyers with waiting and circulation areas that subsequently link to the lecture theatre, cafe and bar at ground level and to the galleries on upper floors.
From here, visitors follow a gently Moebius like sloping serpentine ramp that weaves up through the fabric of the existing buildings, linking old and new. Existing galleries are retained and renovated and public areas transformed to house large works that can be displayed and viewed in radical and innovative ways.
The culmination of this promenade is a fluid space under a delicately draped canopy, spanning the full length of the building. This provides a dazzling rooftop landscape that unifies the buildings and becomes the emblem of the new gallery. Here restaurants, sculpture courts and gardens provide both distant views and intimate spaces for contemplation.
The forms are reminiscent of rippling water, where the light and shade provide a tranquil setting and a unique destination. Fabricated from steel and glass, the roof will not interfere with the existing but rather act as a reflective crystalline jewel during the day and an illuminated beacon at night.
These fluid forms not only satisfy the required functional demands but also, and equally importantly, provide the National Art Gallery with a recognisable identity and a presence on the global stage. Source by Matteo Cainer Architects.
- Location: Singapore, Republic of Singapore
- Architect: Matteo Cainer Architects
- Client: Singapore’s Ministry of Information Communication and Arts (MICA)
- Area new Build: 64.300 m2
- Year: 2016
- Images: Courtesy of Matteo Cainer Architects
Article by Marco Rinaldi