Image credit: Kengo Kuma & Associates and K2LD Architects

A commemorative architectural project aimed at honouring the legacy of Singapore’s pioneers will be made part of the Marina Bay skyline by 2027.

The brainchild of Japanese firm Kengo Kuma & Associates and Singapore firm K2LD Architects was chosen as the winning design for the upcoming Founders’ Memorial project by a seven-member panel, out of nearly 200 design proposals submitted to the international competition launched in Jan last year.

Kengo Kuma, lead architect of the winning team, said that the design “simultaneously honours the past, and inspires the present and future”.

“The design aims to be a ‘living memorial’, to be owned by each new generation of Singaporeans,” he added.

Multiple paths in their memorial design will “shape the architecture and landscape, inviting visitors to reflect, learn, and share while contemplating the dynamic skyline or the lush gardens”.

All of the above paths will lead to an amphitheatre where visitors will congregate to commemorate milestones, according to the architectural firms’ philosophy behind their design for the memorial.

The panel lauded Kengo Kuma & Associates and KL2D’s design for its “sensitive and functional” design, which ” embodies the spirit and values of Singapore’s founding team of leaders”.

Chairman of the Founders’ Memorial Committee and head of the jury Lee Tzu Yang said that the winning design is “a unique design, incorporating landscape and architecture, that brings visitors on a journey of discovery”.

He added that the jury found that the design permits accessibility and integration with the Bay East Garden and to public transport.

Kengo Kuma & Associates and KL2D’s design, said Mr Lee, utilised a “thoughtful layout of spaces, which can be adapted to future programming and activities”.

Four other shortlisted designs were submitted by the following architectural firms:

  • 8DGE + RSP Architects, which featured a circular structure representing “a symbolic common space for everyone”;
  • Cox Architecture + Architects61, which featured a design inspired by the nation’s flag;
  • DP Architects, which featured a cradle-like structure that embodies nation-building; and
  • Johnson Pilton Walker + RDC Architects, which featured an ascendant structure meant to symbolise “a young, rising nation”.

All five shortlisted designs were showcased in an exhibition last year, in which around 50,000 members of the public picked their favourite design. The jury factored in public feedback in choosing the winning design.

Kengo Kuma & Associates is the firm behind the National Stadium in Tokyo, built for the 2020 Olympic Games. It was opened in 2018 and officiated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Construction of the Founders’ Memorial project will begin in 2022 at the Bay East Garden, with a namesake MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line to serve the memorial.

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