Next week, an exhibition of the five shortlisted designs in the Founders’ Memorial competition begins a two-month tour of the island, with the public invited to choose their favourite ahead of the jury’s final selection.
1 November, 2019
There’s been a considerable amount of public consultation about the development of a Founders’ Memorial for Singapore.
The idea for a gallery and garden experience to commemorate the values and ideals of Singapore’s first generation of leaders was first floated in 2015. And to date, various phases of engagement with Singaporeans have precipitated a public desire for a landmark that is unique to Singapore, shares nation-building values, and will inspire future generations.
“We have heard from Singaporeans at different stages, from the Memorial’s objectives and concept, to its physical features and location,” says Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman of the Founders’ Memorial Committee.
Now, the Founders’ Memorial Design Showcase exhibition will make its way around the island throughout November and December 2019, inviting members of the public to choose their favourite of the five shortlisted designs.
Slated to open in 2027, the Founders’ Memorial will be located at Bay East Garden. It will incorporate exhibition galleries, landscaped spaces and art installations, and will feature stories on values exemplified by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first generation of leaders, and other key personalities who played important roles in Singapore’s path to independence and early years.
Those values include multiracialism, boldness, adaptability, integrity and resilience.
From an international competition launched in January this year, five teams were shortlisted for stage-two submission – not before public consultation workshops that offered perspectives on the visitor experience of the five designs. Refinements were made to the designs in stage two in accordance with more detailed requirements from the organising committee. The current phase of public consultation precedes the jury’s selection of the winning design in Q1 2020.
So who are the contenders?
Tan Ming Yin, 8DGE Founder & Design Principal: “Founders’ Memorial is about more than remembrance. It is also about hope and a reflection of our founders’ values. 8DGE designed for a journey that not only looks inwards – a contemplative space where we ponder on our beginnings – but also outwards, where we set our sights upon the future. The architecture conveys both a contemplative yet expressive presence. At night, the Founders’ Memorial lights up, like a shining star in the universe.”
Philip Cox, Founder, Cox Architecture: “The Founders’ Memorial is an abstraction symbolising Singapore bridging the past and the future over water and land within a park environment. It incorporates Singapore’s history of development through a series of spaces climaxing with stunning views of Singapore today. The building is timeless in its expression, a shape that is elegant, enticing and evocative of its content.”
Angelene Chan, CEO, DP Architects: “The human hand is a compelling symbol, universally resonating with strength, guidance, hard work and honesty – these are the hands of our founders; and formed the starting point of our design. From this, we created a Form that represents their contribution to Singapore’s growth. Like a cradle of cupped hands, it presents the gift of our nation to a future generation. In this gesture of giving, our design is an expression of gratitude for how they have raised a nation.”
Brendan Murray, Senior Associate, Johnson Pilton Walker: “Our design has people at its heart. We were inspired by the idea that people from different cultures can come together and live in harmony: Singapore has this remarkable story to tell. And so, the place we’ve created comes straight from the heart: the design draws people together to a central focal point, to meet each other and be reminded of the values that unite them. It’s an emotional and inclusive experience, evoking a young nation rising to the future.”
Kengo Kuma, Principal at Kengo Kuma & Associates: “More than a building, we envision a garden park: a place for all people to gather close to nature. The basis of the design, The Founders’ Path, is a central spine, which cuts through the garden, defining the new topography with memorial slopes emerging from the landscape to house the programme. A network of meandering paths and canopies reaches out from the garden, drawing visitors inward; offering glimpses of the memorial, and finally revealing the city skyline beyond.”
The jury consists of Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman, Founders’ Memorial Committee (Chairperson of the Jury Panel); Daniel Libeskind, founder and Principal Architect, Studio Libeskind; Jun-Ichi Inada, Managing Director, WIN Landscape Planning & Design International; Tai Lee Siang, Executive Director (BuildSG), Building and Construction Authority, Singapore; Dr Kiat W. Tan, Corporate Advisor, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore; Fun Siew Leng, Chief Urban Designer, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore; and Chang Hwee Nee, CEO, National Heritage Board, Singapore.
The exhibition tour begins on Monday 4 November at IMM before heading to Kampung Admiralty (11-17 November), the National Museum of Singapore (18 November to 1 December), Toa Payoh HDB Hub Mall (2-8 December), Waterway Point (9-20 December), and Our Tampines Hub (23-29 December).
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