Having been to Singapore on numerous occasions and marveling at the seemingly constant state of change the island nation has embarked upon, today I felt it appropriate to highlight a handful of Singapore buildings that if transplanted in Melbourne, would provide a positive outcome for our magnificent city.
On a recent visit I avoided the numerous brew pubs (sort of) in order to meander with camera in hand and take in all that Singapore's built form has to offer. Here's five of my picks:
Melbourne shopping centres are a drab, uninspired affair. Highpoint, Chadstone and Centro the Glen are epitomised by cream precast panels; inactive and uninviting. Bugis is Singapore's shopping stronghold and the Bugis+ retail development is a shining example of what retail centre facades should be. Green, bright, and interesting while masking the conventional retail centre behind, Bugis+ gained a Green Mark platinum rating from Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA) during 2012.
Ideal Melbourne location: take your pick, there's no shortage of drab shopping centres floating around, Chadstone of course comes to mind
If any development embodies the island states uncompromising attitude toward its urban realm ION Orchard may just be that building. Located on Singapore's ritzy Orchard Road the complex is heavy with quality, aesthetic and detail while also drawing people toward its active area with a large canopy providing respite from Singapore's blistering sun while a MRT Station ensures a constant buzz. Reminds me of the Honda television advert a few years back, "Isn't it funny when things just work."
Ideal Melbourne location: retail and associated tower, sounds like an evolved version of what is South Yarra's tallest was to be; Capitol Tower at 623 Chapel Street
Truthfully it's not about this particular building but what it represents. Melbourne and Singapore are similar in many regards, one such area being their international regard. Neither city have the 'defining' Sydney Opera House or Golden Gate as such, and Marina Bay Sands may not be that to Singapore but is does create interest. Funny how many people mention they'd like to go to Singapore purely to experience the 200m high, overhung infinity pool. International recognition is important, and Marina Bay Sands provides it; which one Melbourne building can lay claim to that title?
Ideal Melbourne location: a notion without a specific location in mind yet Lend Lease had at one point ambitions of creating an iconic Melbourne structure on their Central pier, Docklands site - why not?
That such vast amounts of land so close to a major city centre can be redeveloped at a government's whim is rare in itself. Wedged between the Singapore Strait and Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay is a venue where locals and tourists alike flock to relax, learn and enjoy. Defined by two large, domed steel and glass structures, Marina by the Bay would slot into the Melbourne landscape quite easily, the only question is where?
Ideal Melbourne location: a longer term prospect, but how appropriate Melbourne's equivalent would one day replace part of the current Port of Melbourne abutting Citylink/Bolte Bridge
This recent addition to Singapore's skyline is simply awesome! The 'Hotel in a garden' complex is indicative of Singapore's willingness to incorporate greenery into many of its contemporary towers, and it works exceptionally well. Architizer describes the building as a building that "Mimics natural forms with a cave inspired entry in the base and a series of rainforest terraces jutting out from the hotel room blocks."
Ideal Melbourne location: anywhere. Sublime and supreme!
See more images of the selected five buildings below.