Much attention has been focused on Singapore’s architecture scene due to recent prominent foreign “imports”, such as Moshe Safdie’s Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in 2011 and the British-designed Gardens by the Bay in 2012, but it is also worthwhile highlighting some Singapore-born-and-bred talent.
Forty-three-year-old Chang Yong Ter, who set up CHANG Architects in 2000, stands out for his originality and modesty. Rejecting a specific personal style, his highly selective and unconventional projects embody an attitude of wholesomeness towards design and a deep respect for nature. Both his award-winning Elok House (winner of Singapore’s prestigious President’s Design Award and SIA Architectural Design Award) and Framed House (International Property Awards) boldly redefine contemporary living; the former with trees sprouting through its floors was achieved on a shoestring budget.
Another unmistakable architect is Yip Yuen Hong, who is approaching 53 but whose career seems only in its beginnings. Since Yip founded ip:li architects with his wife Lee Ee Lin in 2002, he has established a signature blend of tropical modern with simple materials and a sensitivity for local history and context. In 2012, Yip received the President’s Design Award for the second year in a row, this time for the retro-futuristic 19 Sunset Place. His simple but elegant design added a striking new concrete case over an old existing timber and brick structure to meet the client’s demand for an enlarged space. On a roll at the 2012 SIA Architectural Design Awards, Yip impressively swept a total of six awards, including Building of the Year for 19 Sunset Place.
Chan & Linghao
Architectural collectives are not new yet they remain rather uncommon in Singapore. One of the most innovative social-architectural projects of late is the Lorong 24A Geylang Shophouse Series, completed last year. In 2010, boutique developer Pocket Projects invited eight local architects to redesign the interiors of eight conserved shophouses. Notably, the eight included established architects as well as upcoming ones, such as Randy Chan (of Zarch Collaboratives) and Ling Hao (of Linghao Architects). While Chan blurs art with his architecture that includes installations, exhibitions, private homes and an award-winning stage, Ling is interested in the relationships between the interior and exterior, and people and architecture, and how they translate into a space.