The Architecture of Singapore, Part 9

People call Singapore the Fine City for many reasons. Comparatively, the laws concerning public behavior are strict, resulting in literal fines if you don’t comply. Additionally, the cost of living is high. We talked to an Indian family who told us that the government taxes cars heavily, both in their purchase and on the road. A normal family would have a hard time owning one. On the positive side, this results in an abundance of funds available for city management. And if you ask me, they have put it to good use. Simply put, the architecture of Singapore is one of the most beautiful, exotic, and diverse that I have seen. Moreover, green spaces abound, giving the impression that you could walk out of the city and straight into nature whenever. Let me take you on a tour of Singapore’s stunning architecture. You’ll want to head to the city yourself.

Singapore’s Ethnic Enclaves

Singapore is famous for its diversity as you range from one block to another. The architecture in the three major enclaves of Chinatown, Kampong Glam, and Little India made beautiful patchwork throughout the city. We made our way through each of these areas, feeling their charm. Sadly, we saw Kampong Glam only briefly. During our stay, we shacked in Little India. It’s streets advertised beautiful Indian sari, a kaleidoscope of colors. From the Mustafa Centre to the side streets, people hurried about their daily business, gathering at the a local temple for their calls to prayer.

We¬† spent the most time in Chinatown. It’s the largest ethnic enclave by far. Tourists filled Chinatown’s streets. Since we went to Singapore around New Year’s Eve, decorations were abundant to represent the new year. When you go, even if you don’t have time, Buddha’s Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is a must-see destination. Not to mention, a beautiful garden adorns its rooftop with a prayer wheel that grants you luck as you spin it. Inside, visitors learn about the cycles of reincarnation and the various Bodhisattva. It’s educational if you are new to the religion and want to learn more. But I think my favorite part was on the first floor. We got to witness a prayer ritual performed by the monks of the temple. Together with the rabid snaps of cameras, their calls echoed through the air.

Inside Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The inside first floor of the Budda Tooth Relic Temple sits inside you as you listen to the echoing voices of monks.

The Beauty of Marina Bay Sands at New Year’s Eve

As we visited this beautiful city during the New Year’s time, we had to make our way over to Marina Bay Sands to see the beautiful displays of fireworks. As the sun fell, crowds gathered and the Marina Bay Sands hotel lit up in multi-colored hues. The giant Supertrees glowed behind us as we watched fireworks set off against the sky. Though a small part of our stay here, the Marina Bay Sands area and its Garden by the Bay is surely one of the main reasons many come to Singapore. The hotel clearly stands as a primary piece of architecture in the Singapore skyline; in fact, it really can’t be missed. Sadly, we didn’t have time to see the associated attractions of the bay during the day, but it was all a sight to behold nonetheless.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel during the day
This towering monolith impressed all of us. Even so, it grew in stature at night.

Singapore’s Skyline Architecture Old and New

We couldn’t catch everything we wanted to see, but the views surrounding Lau Pa Sat strike us as some of the best in Singapore. Come see the iconic hawker centre in the foreground, the skyline vaulting skywards behind as a testament to past and future. Here in the Downtown Core are the majority of Singapore’s skyscrapers. Tanjong Pagar Centre ranges in style from Republic Plaza. But together brutalist and postmodern styles astound the viewer. Nearby, too, buildings such as the Supreme Court or Raffles Hotel bring a European flair to this burgeoning city-state. With such a wide array of structures to choose from, a person who loves architecture would never grow tired.

Architecture Around Town

When I talk about Singapore’s architecture, it’s hard not to go at length. There really were just so many buildings that inspired different moods. You had the flashy glitz of Orchard Road, specially decked out in Christmas attire. Along the bay, a giant structure made to look like the hearty durian sat in all its glory. Nearby, a Merlion Statue shooting water form its mouth attracted a crowd. Further away, the Singapore Flyer glints at night by the water and entertains as the second tallest Ferris wheel in the world. Blocks ranged with colorful buildings, beautiful murals, and well-carved streets. Gardens rose out of the city on top of buildings to give the city its other sobriquet, the Garden City. Overall, our time in Singapore’s architectural heart showed us what a planned city, aware of its limits, can attain.

Glance through the following photo essay of sorts. I hope to have captured some of the city’s essence. By the same token, I hope you can gain a similar appreciation for its beauty. Uniquely itself, Singapore’s buildings demonstrated an attention to detail not common around the world.

If you ever have the chance, please visit Singapore not only for its food but also its beauty. Though our time there ended, we’d love to return to make more of the city.

What About You?

If you’ve been to Singapore, what buildings stood out to you? Moreover, what did you think was beautiful or interesting or wowing? Or was there something else entirely that caught your attention beyond its food and architecture? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below!

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