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Royal Institute of British Architects recognises design excellence in Singapore

Singapore was the only country to receive two Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Worldwide Awards for its new arts venue…

Singapore was the only country to receive two Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Worldwide Awards for its new arts venue, the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, and the 56-apartment Lincoln Modern which features split-level accommodation. The Awards, presented on 17 June 2005, recognised high architectural standards and their contribution to the local environment.



The striking Esplanade building with its spiky twin-domes, is affectionately referred to as the Durians by locals, thanks to its resemblance to the pungent local fruit. Designed by a team of British and local architects, it has an acclaimed acoustics system that has impressed many international artistes and audiences. The Lincoln Modern, designed by a Singaporean firm, was inspired by the late architect Le Corbusier`s most influential work, Unite d`Habitation, a 12-storey post-war apartment block in Marseilles.



The RIBA award is not the only trophy held by the Esplanade. Last year it won the Fiabci`s (International Real Estate Federation) Prix d`Excellence award, which has been called the Oscars of the real estate world.



An Esplanade spokesperson said: We are proud to win another award, but the important thing is we`re not just known internationally for the architecture but also for being an arts centre and a living space.



Singapore`s rich history has resulted in a surprising mix of old and new architecture nestled comfortably amidst lush greenery. Much of Singapore`s city landscape has been strongly influenced by the many traders from around the world who came to live in Singapore after it was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles. A distinctive feature of Singapore`s landscape are the pretty shophouses which can be seen all over Singapore, strikingly painted in bright colours. Thanks to a decree by Stamford Raffles all shophouses have a five foot way which serves as a roomy walkway offering shelter from tropical rain or the midday sun.



The seven RIBA Worldwide Award-winners for 2005 were:

  1. Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay, Singapore – Michael Wilford & Partners (1993-1995) and DP Architects Pte Ltd (Singapore) (1993-2004)
  2. Lincoln Modern, Singapore – SCDA Architects
  3. Genzyme Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA – Behnisch, Behnisch & Partners Inc
  4. Seewurfel, Zurich, Switzerland – Camenzind Evolution
  5. Slice House, Porto Alegre, Brazil – Procter: Rihl
  6. Spanish Pavilion, Expo 2005, Japan – Foreign Office Architects
  7. James Robertson House, Mackeral Beach, NSW, Australia – Dawson Brown Architecture


`Singapore Architecture`, a 144-page coffee-table book, was published in 2004 by British academic and author Robert Powell. It traces early temples and colonial monuments built in the 19th century, right up to the skyscrapers and homes of the new millennium. Mr Powell was professor of architecture at the National University of Singapore from 1990 to 2000 and now teaches design at Portsmouth University.



The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore`s premier performing arts venue, runs a series of events showcasing the best of Singaporean and international talents. Coffee Morning, a morning concert, is held on the first Monday of every month and Late Nite puts Singapore`s freshest talents in the spotlight every last Friday of the month. There are also free outdoor performances every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening along the Esplanade Waterfront; free concerts at the Concert Hall on Sundays; and free lunchtime concerts at the Concert Hall on the last Tuesday of the month.

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