Category: Special Categories
Honourable Mention

Jury Citation:

“The judges complimented the project for its clever solutions to the challenging conditions posed by the conserved building and the complex setting of the project.

The architect’s ability to add unapologetically contemporary insertions; such as the titanium ‘Box’ housing the daylight-controlled gallery spaces and the skewed glass façade, is both commendable and encouraging, and thus merit an Honourable Mention.”

Originally designed in the 19th century, the Empress Place Building is a heritage building located in the Civic District of Singapore. In 2003, the building was converted to house the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM). In 2011, the Museum sought to expand and re-define the nature of the building with additions of a contemporary architecture.

Completed in 2015, the two new wings are a culmination of ideas centred around progressive museum aspirations, stringent heritage requirements and physically challenging sites. The rejuvenation of the museum building is defined by the clarity of architectural expression, and the manipulation of daylight to sculpt building form, illuminate gallery spaces and delineate and distinguish new from old. Light steel structures with long spans were proposed to minimise impact and re-routing of building services throughout the new works are carefully concealed or disguised.

The architecture of the new 2015 wings is unapologetically contemporary and forms interesting counterpoints to the existing building. The Riverfront Wing fronting the Singapore River is a welcoming open doorway to the museum. A grand titanium entrance portal draws visitors into tthe new gallery, which is awash with daylight filtering through numerous circular skylights. Through the same, the roof terrace above comes alive at night, illuminated by ‘pools’ of light from the gallery below. The new wing is ‘inserted’ into the existing courtyard with large glazed setbacks from the heritage facades so that the old and new architecture are clearly defined and separate.

The Kwek Hong Png Wing consists of three separate galleries over three levels designed to offer different exhibition environments. The architecture takes on the form of a metallic titanium cuboid ‘weightlessly’ elevated one level above the ground and setback from the existing heritage facades of the courtyard. Lightweight bridges provide seamless connectivity between the existing and new galleries.