(Guest Writer: Lisa Roberts)
If you genuinely want to get to know a country, then you cannot pass up learning a bit more about its architecture. The styles of architecture a country has gone through tend to tell a lot about it and its history. To this end, let us take a closer look at the top architectural styles in Singapore!
Singapore Top Architectural Styles: Gothic
If you are looking to learn more about Singapore’s architecture, you will quickly find out that the Gothic style is one of the oldest notable styles in the country. It is, of course, European in origin and mostly appears through cathedrals and convents. Such buildings are always tall, with pointed roofs, vaulted ceilings, and, typically, stained glass windows. The most representative structure in this style is CHIJEMS or the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. The former convent now functions as a commercial center, allowing visitors to enjoy its many stores and diners and one of the top architectural styles in Singapore. Unfortunately, there aren’t many examples of this beautiful style left in the country. So, if given the opportunity, take the chance to admire those that are left! Most Gothic structures also carry historical heritage, making them an excellent way to learn about the city’s past.
Singapore Top Architectural Styles: Neoclassical
Another of the top architectural styles in Singapore is the neoclassical style. It is a result of the Renaissance period and draws heavily on ancient Roman and Greek architecture. These features make the style particularly striking, primarily since it predominantly centers on ‘domes.’ The domed roofs and ceiling, along with the pillars and columns this style features, coupled with the reliefs and other ‘classical’ detailing, make for awe-inspiring buildings. The most famous example of such architecture in Singapore is the National Museum Building of Singapore, which can further be subcategorized as having been built in the Palladian style. Another example of the same architectural style is the old Supreme Court Building, which now serves as the National Gallery of Singapore and which definitely merits a visit.
Singapore Top Architectural Styles: Art Deco
Moving to more ‘modern’ styles, we have Art Deco. This style is a product of the era just before World War I, which originated in France. One of the key features of Art Deco is a strong use of geometrical elements, spires, parapets, and often clashing colors. The entire style was created as a means of celebrating scientific progress and trying to push boundaries of what was considered architectural normal back then. Due to its celebration of progress, the style sometimes comes across as opulent. The most famous example of a building in this style in Singapore is Parkview Square, even if its design is somewhat more subdued and imposing than typical representatives of this style.
Singapore Top Architectural Styles: Modernism
Another prevalent style of architecture commonly found in Singapore is Modernism. If you plan to organize an international move to Singapore, once you reach your destination, you will likely encounter modernist architecture in every city district. Or rather, its subtype, Brutalism. This subtype of Modernism is a very minimalistic style that opts for functionality and ease of building rather than appearance or sending any particular message. The typical Brutalist building is squat, block-like, and made of concrete. Most commercial and public buildings in major cities are built in this style, even with the newer and more interesting examples of architecture springing up all over Singapore. One of the few unique and exciting examples of a building in this style is the OCBC Centre, sometimes called ‘the calculator’ because of its appearance. The way the dull and seamless concrete gives way to rows of windows does conjure a calculator to mind.
Singapore Top Architectural Styles: Postmodernism
Postmodernism once more breathes a dash of liveliness and ingenuity into the top architectural styles in Singapore with its incredible feats of engineering and architecture. Perhaps the country’s best-known example of such architecture is The Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Its unique appearance will take your breath away when you first lay your eyes on it. Equally interesting and unique is the ‘Sandcrawler,’ a building inspired by the Star Wars movies. The style emphasizes the sleek contrast between the colors of glass and metal. And most buildings built in this style have plenty of windows. The style is a very passionate response to Brutalism’s dullness and architects’ desire to make beautiful and unique buildings fully shine through. Therefore, we can see many creative shapes and irregular geometry in Postmodernist buildings. Working with Singapore architects, you will quickly find out most would be thrilled to work on a project in this style.
Singapore Top Architectural Styles: Biophilic architectural
The final and newest of the top architectural styles in Singapore is the Biophilic architectural style. There is only one way to describe it succinctly: a return to nature. Singapore is a country with stunning natural sights. And the Biophilic style tries to bring a dash of that beauty into the urban setting. Buildings constructed in this style have lots of natural light and ventilation and plenty of ‘natural’ features. This means you can see greenery everywhere you look, which is purposefully done to benefit people’s health and mental well-being. The most stunning example of this architectural style is the Jewel Changi Airport. It looks like a miniature jungle captured within a bustling and urban setting. The style is rapidly gaining in popularity and recognition. Even some of the best micro-builders in Singapore are itching to try their hand at building in this style.
Being more familiar with the top architectural styles in Singapore, one conclusion should be obvious. The European influence is still very much felt in the architectural styles prevalent in the country. Only in Postmodernism has Singapore started to find its own architectural identity again. With some truly unique and intriguing buildings unique to the country, we are excited to see how this trend continues. Obviously, the Biophilic architectural style is the biggest step toward Singapore leaving its mark in the history of 21st-century architecture. Additionally, the style has received international recognition. Still, this does not mean the earlier styles do not have their merit. And they definitely contribute to the beauty and history of Singapore.
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