Global design contest for Founders' Memorial

The upcoming Founders' Memorial at Bay East Garden in Gardens by the Bay is expected to be completed by 2027. The design contest will have two stages, and participants are required to submit designs for the first stage by April.
The upcoming Founders' Memorial at Bay East Garden in Gardens by the Bay is expected to be completed by 2027. The design contest will have two stages, and participants are required to submit designs for the first stage by April.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Architects worldwide invited to take part in bid to be appointed for project at the heart of Bay East Garden

An international design contest was launched yesterday to call for proposals for the upcoming Founders' Memorial, which will be constructed in Bay East Garden in Gardens by the Bay.

Architects from all over the world are invited to take part in a bid to be appointed for the project, which will set the tone for the rest of the garden.

The winning design will be picked by a seven-member jury panel chaired by Mr Lee Tzu Yang, who also chairs the Founders' Memorial Committee set up to steer the project.

Mr Lee said that the winning design should "honour the founding values of this country and make excellent use of the site".

"We envision that it will be a space which everyone of all ages can enjoy and relate to, and an icon that Singaporeans can be proud of and share with our future generations," he said.

"We are not looking for statues. We are not looking for depictions of iconographic people."

Mr Tai Lee Siang, who is also on the jury panel as well as the Founders' Memorial Committee, said the 5ha site must be "properly and carefully planned".

"It will be the focus of Bay East Garden. Its design will set the tone for the rest of the garden," said Mr Tai, executive director (BuildSG) of the Building and Construction Authority.

The Singapore Institute of Architects has been appointed by the Founders' Memorial Committee, through the National Heritage Board, to organise the competition.

  • Who will pick winning design

  • Members of the jury panel who will pick the winning design for the Founders' Memorial:

    • Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Founders' Memorial Committee chairman and chair of jury panel.

    • Mr Daniel Libeskind, founder and principal architect, Studio Libeskind.

    • Mr Jun-ichi Inada, managing director, WIN Landscape Planning & Design International.

    • Mr Tai Lee Siang, executive director (BuildSG), Building and Construction Authority.

    • Dr Kiat W. Tan, corporate adviser, Gardens by the Bay.

    • Ms Fun Siew Leng, chief urban designer, Urban Redevelopment Authority.

    • Ms Chang Hwee Nee, chief executive, National Heritage Board.

The contest will have two stages, and participants are required to submit designs for the first stage by April.

The jury panel will shortlist up to six designs, and public engagement workshops will be organised to get Singaporeans' thoughts on them.

Shortlisted participants will then further develop their designs for stage two before the winning entry is announced at the start of next year.

The memorial 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.

It will be housed in a garden, within which an indoor gallery will be built. There will likely be per-manent and temporary galleries, as well as a visitor centre and multi-purpose rooms, which could host school excursions and citizenship ceremonies.

More than 32,000 people have been asked - through dialogues, surveys and workshops - what they want to see at the memorial. Groups of historians, educators, architects and students have also been consulted.

Landscaping will be an important part of the memorial's design, as the visitor journey through the memorial is expected to include outdoor components.

Design proposals will also need to take into account connectivity and accessibility of the site. Plans for the area include public road access, a new pedestrian bridge and a water taxi stop, as well as the recently announced Founders' Memorial MRT station.

International firms will be encouraged to partner local ones in the first stage, and will have to do so in stage two. This is a statutory requirement and will also ensure that the memorial's designers have the necessary knowledge of Singapore's history, Mr Tai said.

"International architects may be creative, but they will need someone who really has the history and the background knowledge to help inspire each other to co-create exciting designs," he said.

 
 

The jury panel will also take into consideration whether the project is within budget, although the exact budget is still being worked out.

The memorial is expected to be completed by 2027, and to attract one million visitors a year. For more information about the contest, visit foundersmemorialcompetition.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2019, with the headline 'Global design contest for Founders' Memorial'. Print Edition | Subscribe