The Singapore City Gallery - A Journey into Singapore's Planning Story
Located in the lobby of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) headquarters along Maxwell Road, the Singapore City Gallery charts Singapore’s urban transformation over the last 50 years.
As the only gallery in Singapore that illustrates the story of the nation’s planning efforts, the Singapore City Gallery shows the remarkable physical transformation of the city-state from an overcrowded urban seaport in the 1960s into Asia’s most liveable city today.
“This gallery invites visitors to explore with us, how, with careful urban planning and design and taking the long-term view, we can try to remain rooted through the unique character of our suburban neighbourhoods and historic districts, remain comfortable not over crowded, providing good housing and convenient amenities, retain a wonderful sense of green and nature in our lives, and a sense of space to wander about safely despite being in what is still a dense built-up city of tar, glass and concrete,” said Mr Colin Lauw, Senior Manager of the Singapore City Gallery.
With 10 thematic areas and more than 50 audio-visual and interactive exhibits spanning over three floors, the Gallery offers both business and leisure travellers an exciting, multi-sensory learning experience into Singapore’s planning journey.
Highlights of the gallery include a Central Area Model built to scale, a 270-degree panoramic audiovisual show and interactive exhibits showcasing Singapore’s heritage gems.
An immersive experience for all
Boasting one of the world’s largest architectural models, the Central Area model enables visitors to get an exclusive bird’s eye view of Singapore’s central district. This 1:400 scale model is one of the oldest exhibits in the gallery, with parts of it almost as old as Singapore. Not only will visitors get the opportunity to view the intricate details of the buildings on the model with the interactive screens, but they will also be able to watch it come alive with the hourly light and sound show.
In addition to this impressive model, the Gallery also houses a City Centre model and an island-wide model. The 1:1000 scale City Centre model simulates the future plans and buildings in the city area while the Islandwide model showcases almost every building in the city-state. These models give visitors an overview of how the city’s big needs are strategically fitted into Singapore’s small landscape.
Other exhibits at the gallery offer visitors a greater understanding and appreciation of the challenges faced by city planners and architects as they seek to make optimal use of Singapore’s limited land space whilst preserving its architectural heritage.
One such exhibit is ‘A Brush With History’, which enables visitors to catch a glimpse of how familiar places once looked and discover how conservation efforts have helped retain Singapore’s rich identity and heritage.
The exhibit makes use of models to illustrate how significantly important historic buildings and structures have helped to add charm to the modern streetscapes today. Among the displays are the ‘five-foot way’ shophouses that have been preserved in the Bugis and Chinatown areas.
The art and science of constructing the buildings that form Singapore’s memorable skyline is also explained in great detail, accompanied by a wealth of photographs and videos that contrast the differing structures along the iconic Orchard Road, Singapore River, Marina Bay, and Bras Basah/Bugis districts.
Although not a conventional ‘art’ gallery by any measure, the Singapore City Gallery offers both business and leisure travellers a fascinating insight into how Singapore transformed itself to become a vibrant metropolis for 5.5 million people without sacrificing space for greenery, built heritage and gracious living.
More information about the Singapore City Gallery can be found here https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/citygallery/.