The National Gallery Singapore is opening its refurbished Supreme Court wing this weekend and next weekend in a Naked Museum tour. It will be the last time you will see the historic building au naturel.
When it opens in October, the $530-million Gallery will house the largest collection of South-east Asian art in the world. There are more than 10,000 artworks in Singapore's national collection and the new museum will display about 1,000 of them at a time.
With a floor area of around 64,000 sq m, it will be comparable in size to the Musee D'Orsay in Paris and the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid.
But ahead of that, you can get to appreciate the building on its own, and gain some knowledge of its history. On the Naked Museum tour, 360 visitors will get to see both buildings through a 90-minute guided tour led by trained museum docents. Admission for this is through tickets that can be won through a Facebook contest run on the Gallery's page.
Besides getting a walk through history and getting a refresher on some of the momentous events here, this tour will also be a good chance to check out the new features of the spruced-up buildings, as well as the careful restoration work.
One of the most notable additions is a futuristic-looking statement roof, made of glass, steel and alumimium, that links the two buildings. It starts at the Supreme Court wing, extends over the former alleyway between the buildings and runs atop the length of City Hall.
The design and restoration work is carried out by French firm studioMilou Architecture, a Paris-based firm which specialises in museum design and the adaptive re-use of historical and heritage buildings. It partnered with CPG Consultants for this project.
While there are new touches such as shiny new marble and granite floorings, extensive care has been taken to maintain the building's historic interiors while adding fixtures, such as new lighting and fans, to meet modern building codes.