Marina Bay Sands – Architecture Changing The Face Of Singapore

Singapore’s latest attempt to actively develop its financial infrastructure has had a massive visual impact on the city. The construction of the Marina Bay Sands Resort in such a prominent location is intended not only to guarantee the city-state’s future stability, but also to make a grand statement.

The three 55-story towers of the new hotel and casino, topped by the submarine-shaped Skypark, now dominate the view from Singapore’s downtown (Central Business District - CBD). Marina Bay Sands is the latest government promoted project aimed to enhance the city-state’s standing as a top-end tourist destination and develop the Singapore brand through the use of architecture.

The Arrival of Casinos in Singapore

In 2005 Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, made the decision to expand legal gambling, which previously had been limited to the state-run lottery, and allow the operation of casinos in Singapore.

Legislation was passed to create two integrated resorts, the first on the theme park island of Sentosa, and the second opposite Singapore’s downtown on the marina. It is this second development, Marina Bay Sands, which will have the greatest impact on the appearance and perceptions of the city.

Landmark Architecture in Singapore

Singapore has a long history of utilizing high quality modern architecture to promote the city. Initially the city-state focused upon the development of skyscrapers designed by respected architects, including Pritzker Prize winners I.M. Pei and Kenzo Tange, to enhance the city’s reputation as an international business center. Since the millennium, the government has focused its attention on developing Singapore’s reputation as a high-end tourist destination by building landmark municipal structures.

Several prestigious projects, including Michael Wilford and DP Architects’ Esplanade Theatre, T.R. Hamzah and Yeang’s National Library, Stirling Prize winner Norman Foster’s Supreme Law Court and the Singapore Flyer, have been completed in the last ten years.

The Architecture of Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort designed by Moshie Sadifie. A lotus-shaped building is home to the Art-Science Museum, three shell domes contain a mall, theatre, convention center and restaurants, and three towers topped by the one-acre Skydeck house the hotel.

Of these structures the three connected 55-story towers of the hotel, which are inspired by a stack of cards, have the greatest visual influence on the city. The unusual form creates a distinct silhouette, which can be seen across the marina from all areas of the city and from the sea.

The opening of the Marina Bay Sands completes a grand scheme of improvement and expansion, which began 30 years ago when the land where the resort stands was reclaimed from the sea. This highly visible landmark advertises the arrival of casinos in Singapore, announces the city-state as a desirable tourist destination and continues Singapore’s long tradition of utilizing architecture to promote and strengthen the city’s brand.