Tourists in Singapore will definitely see modern skyscrapers in the country's downtown area, but what I didn't expect is that some can be amazingly unique. Deviating from the traditional rectangular blocks, they are built in distinctive shapes, making myself appreciate architecture and engineering as challenging and exciting fields of study.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Built with a boat-looking roof terrace connecting the three 55-storey irregularly-shaped hotel towers, Marina Bay Sands Hotel for me signifies Singapore's thriving tourism industry. At first, I couldn't imagine that a building like this has been constructed merely for leisure: huge hotel rooms, casino, restaurants, bars, museums, and posh shops. We passed by its lobby on our way to Gardens by the Bay, and it was certainly crowded with tourists from all over the world. I wish we could at least visit the observatory area and see the infinity pool at the sky terrace, but I guess that's something that will encourage me to visit Singapore again in the future.
Walking distance from Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the lotus-shaped ArtScience museum is a famous spot for permanent and touring exhibitions. We didn't have the time to enter this place, but as far as what I've read on Wikipedia, it has 21 gallery spaces. During our visit, they featured well-preserved Egyptian mummies.
The Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay
Considered as one of the main attractions of Gardens by the Bay, the supertree grove is a tangible proof that tourism doesn't necessarily consume huge electricity power and therefore ruin the environment. At first, you'd thought that the vertical structure made of concrete and steel just make way for climbing plants and flowers, but there's much more to that. They are embedded with solar panels that harvest 100kWp during the day, and that's sufficient enough to light up the trees at night, cool down the observatories in the garden and perform other environmental purposes. Looking up to this man-made structure makes you realize that it's indeed possible to fuse horticulture and engineering into an eco-tourism spot.
New Supreme Court
This picture was taken from Clark Quay, thus it would look like a UFO spaceship has landed on top of Singapore's new supreme court. Kidding aside, this circular ninth level houses the Court of Appeal. The old court, which is situated beside the new one, has a classical structure that is also worth a visit.
Esplanade - Theaters on the Bay
Coming from Calinan, one of the main suppliers of durian in the Philippines, I could readily identify which fruit the Esplanade is patterned from. Considered as the center of performing arts in the country, this building is located near the mouth of Singapore River. It contains a huge concert hall, a theater and studios, all of which we couldn't explore as we didn't realize tourists can enter the building through paid guided tours. However, there were outdoor performances during our visit. We saw students playing Singapore's traditional string instruments. At the Esplanade, there are also open food stalls where you can have affordable but sumptuous dinner.
ION Orchard is one of the shopping malls in Orchard Road, Singapore. While walking along this street on a drizzling afternoon, this building particularly caught our attention because of its architectural design. We entered the building and realized that most of the products being sold are branded. Lucky for me, I could buy a durable but affordable bag for myself in this shopping center because the one I was using was about to give up on the weight of Iko.
While writing this post, I remember the episode of How I Met Your Mother when Ted, the architect, was challenged to design a hat-shaped restaurant. At the end of the episode, he could deliver what was requested, but still it seemed ridiculous in real life. However, after seeing these unique buildings in Singapore, I silently told myself that the design is perhaps achievable. I guess everything's now almost possible with man's intelligence and imagination.