Esplanade among most beautiful halls

Arts lovers in Singapore have long known the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay boast world-class facilities for the performing arts. Now the arts centre has been chosen by Hamburg-based building data company Emporis as one of the 15 most beautiful concert halls in the world.

Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who tweeted about the list yesterday, said: "Proud to see our very own Esplanade in the list!"

In its report, the company noted: "These days, concert halls also have remarkable architecture, offering audiences a great show even before they have taken their seats."

Among the dazzlers on the list are Azerbaijan's startling Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the United States, designed by Frank Gehry. A surprising omission from the list is the well-known Sydney Opera House.

Actress and Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh said: "I am proud of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, both as a Singaporean and as an artist. In a relatively short period of 10 years, the venue has played a significant role in energising the performing arts scene in Singapore."

She added that the building "has become more than just an iconic architectural landmark in our cityscape. When you are so affectionately nicknamed 'The Durian', even by taxi drivers, you know you've found your place in the hearts of Singaporeans".

She also said her wish now is that the arts centre, designed by Koh Seow Chuan and his team at DP Architects, will be able to "build the two mid-sized theatres still 'owing' to this landmark, and follow through on the full vision of the venue as The Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay".

The original plans for the centre included two mid-sized theatres, but the plans were shelved for the second phase of development and have yet to see fruition.