$90m makeover for SAM

It is the museum's first upgrade since 1996

The upgrade of the Singapore Art Museum is expected to be completed in 2021.
The upgrade of the Singapore Art Museum is expected to be completed in 2021.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore-based design studio SCDA Architects will helm the $90-million makeover of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) buildings, the museum said in a press release.

The museum of contemporary South-east Asian Art has not been upgraded since it opened in January 1996. This revamp will connect its two separate buildings with a link bridge, improve accessibility for viewers with special needs and enable the premises to house large-scale installations. It is slated to finish in 2021.

The main SAM building is the former St Joseph's Institution (SJI) in Bras Basah Road, a gazetted National Monument. This has been closed to the public since April last year, but programmes continue at the museum's second site, SAM at 8Q, the former Catholic High School in Queen Street.

From January next year, SAM programmes will be held in other museums, institutions and community spaces. The museum's revamp was announced in April last year. An open tender for the project was called from last September to December, with SCDA Architects winning the bid.

The firm, helmed by architect Chan Soo Khian, has received numerous international awards for its work. In 2016, it received the President's Design Awards for the National Design Centre in Middle Road and the Build-To-Order Housing Board project, SkyTerrace@Dawson. The latter also won the Royal Institute of British Architects Award for International Excellence.


  • WHERE: Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road

    WHEN: Tomorrow to Sunday and April 12 to 15, 7.30 and 9.30pm

    ADMISSION: $35 from tinyurl.com/ycwjln4k


    WHERE: Various spaces within the SAM-SJI building compound in Bras Basah Road

    WHEN: Tomorrow to Sunday, Wednesday to April 15 and April 18 to 22, 10am to 5pm


    INFO: There will also be architecture and archaeology guided tours, plus specialist talks, this month. For details, go to www.singaporeartmuseum.sg

The Government will fund up to $80 million of the SAM revamp, with the museum raising the rest.

As part of the Singapore Heritage Festival this month, members of the public can sign up for free daily tours of the main SAM building, which dates to 1855.

There will also be immersive theatrical experiences performed in the structure and viewers can sit in on archaeology digs around the premises, conducted by the Archaeology Unit of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline '$90m makeover for SAM'. Subscribe