The Esplanade Theatres rise up to the urban design challenge of creating a 360º building with no true rear or backyard, fully addressing the waterfront and the surrounding developments in the Marina Bay area and the Civic District. The Jury commends the Esplanade’s exemplary provision of public spaces to encourage vibrant activities, technical dexterity and its seamless transition from the outside to inside. With its distinctive roof, the Esplanade Theatres emerge from the foreground of Marina Bay as a contemporary icon, anchoring the northwest corner of the waterfront with a sweeping view of the bay. It has also placed a high value on achieving superb acoustic performance. The Esplanade Theatres have grown to become a talking point for Singaporeans and visitors alike and is one of the most recognisable icons representing Singapore.
MR JOHN TING KANG CHUNG
AIM & ASSOCIATES
As Singapore rapidly re-makes itself to thrive in the competitive knowledge-based global environment, our globalized city-state needs to furnish impetus to the Renaissance of the Arts and Culture in order for us to stay current, relevant and attractive as an ecosystem for the various capitals such as financial, intellectual, technological, scientific, artistic, creative and cultural attributes.
In conjunction with our new Strategic Vision of Singapore as a vibrant City-state, URA's plan to build a city to last and programmes akin to this Award to re-vitalize and sustain the Architecture and Urban Design profession in Singapore, our community needs to judiciously present to the national and international communities, an identifiable icon to symbolize this vision. Fortunately, with the foresight of the government, we are blessed with many deserving candidates. From the cohort of possibilities one that definitely comes to our people's and visitor's mind and heart is the Esplanade.
Architecturally, the creative re-interpretation of the important element of all edifices - the roof crowning element of the Esplanade - is a most innovative resolution of art, science and technology, computing science, environmental consideration, culture and heritage resulting in a truly new tropical Asian contemporary canopy - a unique solution decorous to the context.
With regards to Urban Design, this national landmark pays respect and sets up a sophisticated dialogue with all the other national Civic monuments such as the Padang, the Victoria Memorial Hall (Former Town Hall), the former Supreme Court and the City Hall.
Technologically, with the aid of advanced computing science and innovative use of structural design, modern glazing technology and metallic sun-shading the roof element and the elevations has been morphed into an envelope best described as a mesh, akin to the traditions of weaving thoroughly Asia.This hovering canopy addresses and mitigates the hot and humid climate superbly and yet provides views both into and from the complex.
On the social dimension, the architect has endeavoured to ensure that the complex is porous and open to the public throughout the day, even when the theatres are closed. This is a significant departure from most theatres in the world. The broadening of the embankment also gives a dynamic waterfront experience to Marina Bay as this place resonates with the public.
Culturally, this architectural icon has accrued and has been endowed with multiple meanings by our people as well as the international community. It also embodies our aspiration to be a cultural capital of the world.
MR TAI LEE SIANG
DP ARCHITECTS, SINGAPORE
Singapore's Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay project became a talking point in Singapore almost as soon as its glass and metal enclosing structures began to emerge on the site.
The architects set out to create a very local building that would be unique to this part of the world and yet not hark back in a very literal way to a culturally specific tradition - a design inspired by its contemporary physical and cultural context.
Each of the main performing venues is visibly identifiable rather than lost in the mass of the overall development. Thus the Concert Hall and Theatre dominate the design from most angles of view and also lend the project its visual identity.
Located on a prime waterfront site in the civic district, there are beautiful views in all directions. The buildings were designed to ensure that all people using the foyers enjoyed these views the maximum extent possible. The increased transparency was a good architectural interpretation to make this an accessible facility that welcomes people from a broad range of backgrounds.
The architects saw the opportunity of using the sun shading as an element that give the design unique properties and make it both identifiably Asian and tropical. The influence of the sun's angles relative to the two halls was a significant component of the equation that determined the design. Given the intention of maximizing views from the interior and keeping out much of the direct sunlight from the exterior, this meant arriving at some form of optimal compromise between the two requirements.
The cladding systems uses a curved space frame with triangulated glass panel seated on the outer face of the frame and aluminum sun shades mounted on posts that protrude from the nodes. The system as designed and built was extremely computer intensive and yet intuitive. The architects have examined the implications of a more regular structure offering more repeatability and standardization in the structural elements. However it emerged that numerically controlled machines recalculate each element of the structural space frame when it is manufactured and don't care if the next element is identical to the one before it not. As a result, a very rigid adherence to standardization pays only marginal dividends. It would seem that in some ways, the building industry has come full circle: using industrialized techniques with computing technology, it is again possible to design highly individualized solutions.