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Risha
Abu Dhabi

Risha from Abu Dhabi asked

What are the 5 best architectural attractions in Singapore?

I've heard the architecture in Singapore is amazing--where do I go to see it? Is it all modern, or is there someplace I can see more traditional buildings? 

Singapore

10 Answers
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answered by
Candy from Singapore

Singapore has a good mix of modern and traditional architecture. Our Urban Redevelopment Authority has done a really great job in planning the districts. It'll be good if you can check out the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore at 45 Maxwell Road. Unfortunately we couldn't keep all our heritage with land scarcity, but there are many places that has been marked as preserved so you can get a blast from the past going there. If you head there you can see our city gallery and probably get a much better idea on where the preserved gems are or where modern skyscrapers be found. Check out Joo Chiat! It has many shophouses that are being preserved! This is a gem other than our cultural enclaves - Little India, Chinatown and  Kampong Glam.


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Risha
Thank you so much for the suggestions Candy! Wonderful to know that in spite of new development, some of the old has also been retained.
 

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Candy
Sure thing Risha! I agree that it is wonderful. Our Senior Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew once said a speech in 1995 that we made our share of mistakes in Singapore. In our rush to rebuild Singapore, we knocked down many old and quaint Singapore buildings. Then we realize we were destroying a valuable part of our cultural heritage that we were demolishing what tourists found attractive and unique in Singapore. On the bright side, there are much efforts made to preservation of precincts since then and if you are willing to look hard enough, there are still many beautiful architecture and retained buildings. I hope you find what you're looking for here Risha! Have a great trip! :)
 
 
 

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  1. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (attraction)
  2. Little India (neighborhood)
  3. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  4. Kampong Glam (attraction)
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answered by
Kimmy

Singapore kept its heritage. In fact, the old architecture which they mostly call shophouses are not allowed to be renovated or changed. Tanjong Pagar (Duxton Hill) has these shophouses that are now used as offices and cafés/restaurants. Tiong bahru is a modern day community housed in old low rise housing buildings.


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Risha
That is wonderful to know! Thank you for the suggestions Kimmy!
 
 
 

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  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Tanjong Pagar (attraction)
  3. Tiong bahru (attraction)
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answered first by
Karlo from Philippines

Great architecture is everywhere in Singapore. Old and moderns ones too. Old ones you can find in ChinatownLittle India, Queenstown, and Toa Payoh which is the oldest village in Singapore. 

 

For modern ones, there are lots in the downtown area, great architecture is scattered all over. Try the river cruise and youll see a glimpse of Marina Bay Sands, esplanade, and other awesome ones. You can also try taking a double decker bus can take you anywhere. My favorite mall building there is The Star Vista near Buono vista mrt. Looks like a space ship.


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Debbie
Cool suggestions, Karlo! Just FYI, I'm a community manager here and I helped you geo-tag the rest of the places you mentioned so that they all appear on the map! :)
 

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Risha
Thank you very much Karlo! I'm interested to see all of these!
 
 
 

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  1. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  2. Little India (neighborhood)
  3. Queenstown (attraction)
  4. Toa Payoh (attraction)
  5. Marina Bay Sands (hotel)
  6. The Star Vista (attraction)
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answered by
Jeffrey from Singapore

If you're into architecture/urban planning I completely agree with Candy that the City museum on Maxwell is a must stop. It's free and easy and next to arguably the best chicken rice stall in Singapore at Maxwell Food Centre.  

 

I would also go up to the rooftop bar at Marina Bay Sands for a sunset view of the city. You can see a good swath of downtown including some old but a lot of new.  




 

Lastly swing by the Armenian Church, National Museum of Singapore, and SOMA - School of Music and the Arts for good stops and architecture.


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Risha
I am definitely going to the Marina Bay Sands to see the famous infinity pool! Thank you for all of your suggestions Jeffrey!
 
 
 

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answered by
Michael

Visit Chinatown to get a feel of traditional shophouses. The architecture of Marina Bay Sands is interesting, the SkyDeck cantilevers out above the hotel and offer spectacular views. Check out the ArtScience Museum.


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Risha
Thank you very much Michael!
 
 
 

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  1. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  2. Marina Bay Sands (hotel)
  3. ArtScience Museum (attraction)
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answered by
Jason from Singapore

What a great question. I agree with many of the answers above. I will attempt to separate architecture into types. You definitely want to see 1) shophouses. For that, there are a few legendary ones at Spottiswoode Park, namely Baba house. 2) Housing Development Board (HDB for short) flats. Bras Basah Complex is a nice old one as are the ones listed above at Queenstown. HDB are Singapore's public housing but unlike what public housing denotes in other countries, it's mid-class living rather than low-end/ "the projects" housing. In fact, 85% of Singaporeans live in HDBs. If you're interested in the HDB story, then you must visit HDB Gallery at Toa Payoh Hub. I think it's free. Iconic buildings not mentioned above is MICA Building at Hill Street (Google Images "Mica Building" and see if it's your cup of tea) but certainly different from any other buildings. Esplanade Lyric Theatre to me is a beauty. But in its early days, had different camps. One side says it's an eyesore. I belong to the other. All iconic buildings, for example Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower, Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao all had the same contestation by the locals. So there. Phew...


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Risha
Nice Jason. Thank you very much! :)
 

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Jason
My pleasure. And it's simply known as Esplanade, not sure why it shows up at Esplanade Lyric Theatre. Also, if you're into photography of architecture and buildings in Singapore, check out www.tribe-tours.com/ tours/hdb-photoshoot-workshop. :)
 
 
 

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  1. Spottiswoode Park (attraction)
  2. Baba house (attraction)
  3. Bras Basah Complex (attraction)
  4. Queenstown (attraction)
  5. HDB Gallery (attraction)
  6. MICA Building (attraction)
  7. Esplanade Lyric Theatre (attraction)
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answered by
Jass from Tampines

If you want to see modern skyscrapers, must go around Marina Bay Sands and see the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel that features three buildings - connected by a ship-like structure on top.


Another outstanding structure is the Gardens by the Bay just opposite the  Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Here you can see two major domes known as the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. Surrounding the area are various landscapes of plants and trees and the gigantic "Super Trees" that look futuristic and out-of-this-world.


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Risha
Thank you very much Jass! How's this for coincidence: I'm going to the Marina Bay Sands to see the infinity pool!
 

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Jass
That's great Risha! Enjoy your stay in Singapore!
 
 
 

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answered by
Aru from Mumbai

Chinatown, Bugis Street little india lots of little places to see architecture, especially the temples in China twon and Little India


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Risha
Thank you very much Aru!
 
 
 

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  1. Chinatown (hotel)
  2. Bugis Street (attraction)
  3. Little India (neighborhood)
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top answer by
Ollie from Singapore

Hey RIsha,

Singapore is a town that is in constant change with a lot of modern architecture such as the skyline in Raffles Place

But among modern buildings you'll find traditional buildings rich in history. Start with The Fullerton Hotel located between Boat Quay and Marina Bay. This building is the old Post Office and are definitely intact and will blow your mind. It's free to enter. 

From there, walk northwards towards Robertson Quay on the right side of the river. It's packed with traditional buildings from colonial times. And on the left side of the river, you'll see traditional shop houses typical for this region. 

if these sights makes you happy. continue to explore China Town and walk towards Duxton Hill and get a break on the roof top of Pinnacle at Duxton (use public transport card to enter - will cost you SGD 5). An amazing view! 

Other cool places are of course the well known Little India and Arab Street. I especially dig the architecture of Arab Street. 

For modern buildings, walk around in the Marina Bay Area or check out some of the gazillion shopping malls on this island. 

Cheers! 


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Risha
Wow, you are definitely a Singapore expert! Thank you very much Ollie! I'm very excited for your trip :)
 

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Brew
This is a fantastic answer Ollie. Well done!
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Raffles Place (attraction)
  2. The Fullerton Hotel (hotel)
  3. Boat Quay (attraction)
  4. Marina Bay (neighborhood)
  5. Robertson Quay (attraction)
  6. China Town (attraction)
  7. Duxton Hill (attraction)
  8. Pinnacle at Duxton (attraction)
  9. Little India (neighborhood)
  10. Arab Street (attraction)
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answered by
Huey

There are many traditional buildings around Singapore, but really it depends on what you want to see.


Places of religion / worship - Thian Hock Keng Temple, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Sri Krishnan Temple, Leong San Temple Kampong Kapor Methodist ChurchSaint George's Church, etc etc etc


Tiong Bahru Rd is also an area you might want to explore. There are a few blocks of residential flats that are under conservation. And you can stop by Tiong Bahru Market for you meal where there are many popular stalls. There are quite a number of cafes for you to rest and most of them should provide free wifi.


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