Singapore Built and Unbuilt at the 10th Venice Biennale International Architectural Exhibition

Jul 21, 2006

Singapore is gearing up for the 10th Venice Biennale International Architectural Exhibition (VBIAE) with a contemporary yet future-oriented exhibition titled, Singapore Built and Unbuilt. The Singapore Pavilion will feature new Singapore architecture from winning works and finalist entries of recent competitions and projects.

By presenting an exhibition of built and unbuilt proposals, the Singapore Pavilion will bring forth the visions, ideas and thought processes of leading Singapore and international architects. The rich range of architectural concepts offer unique typologies for existing urban conditions, addressing issues of the urban city in a garden. Each proposal, built or unbuilt, is a paradigm for new Singapore architecture reflective of the continuous reinvention of Singapore for a better tomorrow.

Projects that the Singapore Pavilion will feature include the winning entry ‘Marina Bay Sands’ for the Marina Bay Integrated Resort Request For Proposal, finalists from the one-north Request For Proposal, finalists from the Duxton Plain Public Housing international architectural design competition, the MARINAline MRT architectural design competition and finalists of the Singapore Arts School design competition. Please see Annex A for more information.

DesignSingapore Council, a division within the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (Singapore), is the organiser for the Singapore Pavilion in 2006. Director of DesignSingapore Council, Dr Milton Tan, chairs the Commissioning Panel. Please see Annex B for the rest of the members of the team. Mr Toyo Ito, one of the foremost architects and member of the International Advisory Panel of the DesignSingapore Council, is advisor to the Singapore presentation.

Mr Ito has been working closely with DesignSingapore Council on this thought-provoking perspective of Singapore as a city, its society and architecture. Commenting on the presentation, Mr Ito said, "In my view, it is interesting to juxtapose the unbuilt against the chosen concept to be built because it would not only give us a sense of Singapore architecture now but also more importantly what could be possible in the future. As we all know, many of the ideas put forth for competitions and project proposals are forward looking. I am personally interested in the concept of Singapore Built and Unbuilt because Singapore is one of the few cities in the world that is open to ideas from both local and international architects. It is always interesting to see how both the local and international architects analyse and perceive the city."

Singapore Built and Unbuilt is supported by members of the Singapore architecture fraternity including Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) President, Ms Rita Soh; SIA Council Member and Director of DP Architects, Mr Tai Lee Siang; DesignSingapore Council Member and Founding Director of WOHA Designs, Mr Richard Hassell; and Founding Principal & Design Director of SCDA Architects, Mr Chan Soo Khian.

The Singapore Pavilion is developed by a new team that was formed following the resignation of the original curatorial team that had cited difficulty with engaging the content required of the international presentation.

Commenting on the resignation, Commissioner Dr Milton Tan said, "We are grateful to Mr Ito and all those who responded to our urgent call, and together we believe we are back on track for an exciting Singapore Pavilion at Venice Biennale that we will be proud of. Any curatorial team working on such a National Pavilion must be fully committed to work closely, and all the way, with the client agency. It therefore came as a surprise and disappointment that in the middle of on-going and open discussions to evolve the exhibition concept, that Dr Viray and his team were prepared to walk out on us without notice. MICA and DesignSingapore quickly made alternative arrangements to ensure that our architecture and our country are still represented in this prestigious event. This new approach is now better able to present our architectural achievements in the context of Singapore’s continuous reinvention for the future."

This will be Singapore’s second presentation following its successful 9-week inaugural presentation in 2004. This year’s architectural biennale will take place from 6 September to 19 November 2006.


21 July 2006

Press Contacts
Ms Elaine Khoo, Asst Manager, Design Promotion
DesignSingapore Council, Ministry of Information, Communications & the Arts
T +65 6837 9632 F +65 6837 9686
140 Hill Street, 5th Storey MICA Building, Singapore 179369

Ms Eunice Hong, Asst Manager, Design Promotion
DesignSingapore Council, Ministry of Information, Communications & the Arts
T +65 6837 9869 F +65 6837 9686
140 Hill Street, 5th Storey MICA Building, Singapore 179369

About DesignSingapore Council
Design changes and improves lives, inspires creativity and new forms of expression. It also enhances business competitiveness in today’s crowded marketplace.

DesignSingapore is Singapore’s response to these propositions and opportunities. As a national initiative, DesignSingapore aims to place Singapore on the world map for design creativity. It looks to developing a thriving, multi-disciplinary design cluster of industries and activities in Singapore that has relevance and impact globally. The initiative also aims to bring design to business boardrooms and to new audiences and markets. In time, bring about a pervasive and unique design culture.

The DesignSingapore Council, set up since August 2003 by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, is the public organisation for promotion and development of Singapore design. The Council works closely with other government agencies, the design community, industry and education institutions to promote design in business and education, and to develop Singapore as one of the leading international centres for design creativity.

In 2005, the Council showcased 100 of Singapore’s design talents through SINGAPOREdge in London (March 2005) - a multi-sensory experience of Singapore’s emergent creative culture and organised the inaugural Singapore Design Festival from 9-23 Nov 2005. In 2006, the Council will bring Singapore’s talents to the Milan Fair (April 2006), the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition (Sept 2006) as well as the London Design Festival (Sep 2006).

More information on the Council is available at


Projects Featured

Marina Bay Integrated Resort

The Singapore Government announced in May 2006 that it will award the project to develop the Integrated Resort (IR) at Marina Bay to Las Vegas Sands Corporation ("Sands"). The design of the Marina Bay Sands is unique and will provide a memorable image and destination attraction for Marina Bay. The overall composition fits very well with existing and future developments. The setting back of the hotel towers from the waterfront opens up expansive views to the city and the entire Marina Bay. The low-rise MICE facilities, casino and theatres fronting Marina Bay are crowned by wave-like roof forms. The Request For Proposal (RFP) for the Marina Bay IR was launched on 15 Nov 2005 and closed on 29 Mar 2006. A total of four proposers responded to the RFP


one-north aspires to be a place of vision and inspiration for knowledge based workers. It is a place where ideas thrive, one north plays its larger role in that it seeks to make Singapore a location for talents to be attracted to –hence, making the Country as a regional R&D hub. The masterplan of one-north subscribes to a strategy called “Ground Form”. This is achieved by respecting the natural undulating topography of the Buona Vista land form. Five finalists responded to the Request For Proposals for the one-north project.

Duxton Plain Public Housing

The Duxton Plain Design Competiton marked a new milestone in public housing in Singapore. It is the first time that Singapore has held an international architectural competition for public housing. Duxton Plain was the site chosen not only for its prime location, but also for its history. This was the place where the first public housing blocks in Tanjong Pagar area were built. It has witness Singapore’s progress over the years. Now, Duxton Plain is ready for yet another important challenge – to be at the forefront of high-rise city living in the 21st century and to house the many families that will rejuvenate this part of the city. There were five finalists for the design competition.

MARINAline MRT Architectural Design Competion

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is building the MARINAline, a new rapid transit system serving the island's downtown tip. The line is the first section of a larger transit network that will eventually form a circle line ringing the city. Scheduled for completion by 2005, the initial phase will be 5 km long and comprises six underground stations. The MARINAline is a medium capacity section of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network. LTA, in association with the Singapore Institute of Architects, organised a competition to develop design concepts for two of the MARINAline stations: Museum and Boulevard. The competition aimed to attract and develop fresh and innovative ideas from both local and international architects. This is the first time that LTA has conducted an open competition for the architectural design of a rapid transit system. There were a total of six finalists.

Singapore Arts School design competition

In March 2004, the Singapore government accepted the recommendations of a Committee on Specialised Arts School to set up Singapore’s first independent pre-tertiary school to nurture youths talented in the arts. The vision is to groom the next generation of artists, creative professionals and individuals who are passionate for and committed to the arts in a multi-cultural society. The School is slated to open in January 2008 in its purpose-built premises within the Arts and Civic District in Singapore’s city centre. It will be in close proximity to the key arts colleges and tertiary institutions, museums, arts centres and other performance venues, as well as major arts groups in Singapore. The competition saw five finalists.


Singapore Pavilion Venice Biennale 10th International Architecture Exhibition

Advisor: Mr Toyo Ito, Toyo Ito & Associates & DesignSingapore International Advisor

Commissioner: Dr Milton Tan, Director, DesignSingapore Council

Commissioning Panel:
Mr Lucas Chow, Council Member, DesignSingapore Council & Group CEO, MediaCorp
Mr Chua Beng Huat, Professor of Sociology, National University of Singapore
Mr Geoffrey Eu, Freelance Writer
Mdm Fun Siew Leng, Deputy Director for Urban Planning & Design, Urban Redevelopment Authority
Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman, Shell Companies in Singapore

Working Group:
Mrs Yeo Piah Choo, Overall Project Director, Deputy Director (Design Promotion), DesignSingapore
Mr Jacks Yeo, Project Consultant, Manager (Design Development), DesignSingapore
Ms Elaine Khoo, Project Manager, Assistant Manager (Design Promotion), DesignSingapore
Ms Eunice Hong, Marcomms Manager, Assistant Manager (Design Promotion), DesignSingapore
Mr Troels Bruun, Agent and Project Consultant in Venice

Production Team:
Mr Sim Boon Yang, Space Consultant, ECO.ID
Mr Kenneth Liang, Film Producer, Dream Forest Productions
Mr Hanson Ho, Graphic Designer, H55
Mr Terence Yeung, Installation Artist, Dear Design Studio
Ms Lim Siew Hui, Space Designer, Designation Pte Ltd
Pico Art International, Exhibition Works

Written on : 21 Jul 2006

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