The challenge in the project was to derive an architectural image of the Chancery that would befit Singapore. The architects saw this in diplomatic terms rather than cultural ones. Singapore projects itself to its neighbors as a no-nonsense, efficient and well-mannered country. At the same time, it wants to be friendly and open. Its garden city image is also portrayed in the way the building sits amidst manicured landscape.
A Building From the Garden City
Large overhangs anchor the interplay of volumes to create large indoor and outdoor spaces. Both these types of spaces constantly relate to water, foliage and sky and conveys an imagery of a building set in a garden.
Architecture of Precision And Lightness
The lines of the buildings are slender and minimal conveying an efficiency, for which Singapore is so renowned for. Precision in the details and in laying of tiles, the modular considerations, as well as the overall control of building edges are all intended to lend the image of a crafted building.
Lightness In A Walled Building
Lifting the ground plane of the building gives the building a lightness, contrary to the reality as the building is practically surrounded by solid walls, a response to serious security threats. The floating elements of the entrance roof, the portal frame, the disabled access ramp as well as the cantilevered volume over the lobby of the main hall, contribute to the perception of lightness.
Layering of Spaces To Create Openness
Spaces are layered to allow openness at the outer layer. As a Chancery, many areas are restricted beyond the first layer. The overhanging portal allows visual transparency, signaling a welcoming gesture. The entrance to the building is lined with reflective pools and a voluminous porte cochere.
To provide internal views, courtyards are created to allow its residents and users to have views outwards. These courtyards provide further security buffers for restricted areas.
Host Country Influence
As a mark of appreciation to the host country, patterns of the traditional fabric, the pina, (made from pineapple fibre) were graphicised and replicated as frit patterns on the glass cladding as well as the skylight. Shadows cast by these patterns can be seen in the lobby of the main conference room.
GFA: 4130 sqm
Site Area: 4500 sqm
Date of Completion: 16 January 2008
Total Project Cost: $8.70 million
Architect: Forum Architects Pte Ltd
Design Director: Tan Kok Hiang
Design/Project Team: Liew Chon Jack, Ho Soo Ying, Lakshmi Dinamani
Client: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Project Manager: Davis Langdon & Seah Project Management Pte Ltd
Structural Engineer: Ronnie and Koh Partnership
M & E Engineer: Parsons Brinckerhoff Pte Ltd
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon & Seah (s) Pte Ltd
Landscape Architect: DLQ Design Pte Ltd
Main Contractor: Ando Philippines Corporation
Foreign Collaborator: EBP Architects
Photographer: Albert Lim
10th Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Award – New Chancery for the Singapore Embassy in Manila (Honourable Mention – Community Category 2010)
President’s Design Award, Singapore
– The Singapore Chancery In Manila, Philippines (Honourable Mention – Design of the Year 2008)