5 design teams shortlisted in Founders' Memorial competition that saw 193 entries

The upcoming Founders' Memorial at Bay East Garden in Gardens by the Bay is expected to be completed by 2027. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - A competition to design a memorial to honour the pioneer leaders of Singapore has attracted submissions from a total of 193 architects here and overseas.

Five of the teams have since been shortlisted for the next stage of the architectural design competition, the committee for the Founders' Memorial said in a statement on Thursday (May 2).

The five are 8DGE Design in collaboration with Ong Ching Ying; Cox Architecture in collaboration with Architects 61; DP Architects; Johnson Pilton Walker; and Kengo Kuma & Associates in collaboration with K2LD Architects.

The competition was launched in January to seek the best design for the new landmark located in a 5ha site in Bay East Garden in the Marina Bay area.

The memorial, which will be housed in a garden, will cover the period in Singapore after World War II to its first few decades of independence, focusing on key milestones and stories in the country's growth.

The first stage of the competition lasted 12 weeks till April 5 and involved an anonymous judging process.

The identities of the five teams that will move on to the second stage of the competition were revealed to the seven-member jury panel only after they were shortlisted.

Mr Lee Tzu Yang, who is chairman of the Founders' Memorial committee and jury panel, said that the submissions during the open design competition were strong and creative.

"Besides Singapore, we had many entries from overseas. For example, from the United States, Hong Kong and even Latvia," said Mr Lee, who is also chairman of Esplanade.

"We are excited to have the shortlisted teams further develop their design concepts in the next stage of the competition, and to translate these concepts and the vision of the Founders' Memorial into more detailed designs."

The five shortlisted teams boast numerous local and international projects under their belt.

Shanghai-based 8DGE Design is led by founder Tan Mingyin, a renowned Singaporean architect. Tan has previously worked on award-winning projects Raffles City Beijing and Thaihot City Plaza.

Singapore firm Architects 61 and Australia's Cox Architecture jointly developed the 220m-long Jubilee Bridge, which opened to the public in 2015, linking the promenade in front of the Esplanade to Merlion Park. Architects 61 is also currently leading a design team for the Esplanade's new $30 million waterfront theatre, slated to open by 2021.

Johnson Pilton Walker from Australia has clinched awards for public projects in the country and in China. These include 5 Martin Place and Victoria Park in Sydney and the CTS Building in Shenzhen.

The firm led by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is behind Tokyo's new National Stadium that will take centre stage when the city hosts the Olympic Games next year. The architect also designed the word's largest Starbucks, which opened in Tokyo in February.

Home-grown firm DP Architects designed some of Singapore's most well-known attractions, including the Singapore Sports Hub and the revamp of Orchard Road, as well as projects overseas such as the Dubai Mall.

Chief executive officer of DP Architects Angelene Chan, 54, says participating in the competition was a matter of national pride.

"This is a special project with deep social and historical significance. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design and develop a project like this."

She adds that the firm is excited about moving forward to the next stage of the competition. "We are very excited to show the Singaporean public our imagination of an emblem that is true to the Singapore spirit, a tangible representation and reminder of the intangible legacy of our nation's founders that every Singaporean citizen can feel a personal connection to."

In the statement, the committee said that there will be public engagement workshops on May 25 and 26, when Singaporeans who previously took part in similar sessions will be invited for an exclusive peek at the five shortlisted conceptual designs.

Participants will be able to offer their views as potential visitors of the memorial.

Other members of the public who are keen to join the engagement workshops may e-mail Founders_Memorial@nhb.gov.sg

As the venue has limited capacity, registration for the sessions is required and will be on a first come, first served basis.

The five teams will refine their design ideas and submit them at the end of the second stage of the competition on Sept 30.

The designs will be displayed for public viewing in November through a roving exhibition, where further feedback will be sought.

The jury panel will then evaluate all five designs and choose a winner in January or February next year.

Construction of the memorial is expected to start from 2021. The memorial is expected to be completed by 2027, and attract one million visitors a year.

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