HEARTPATRICK CITY GUIDES • APR 2016 • SINGAPORE
It may just be a tiny red dot on the world map, but the lion city packs an unbelievable bunch of architectural wonders in such great density that any archi-crazed instagrammer will be left gasping for air. Heartpatrick picked the brain of fellow avid Singaporean urban explorer Clement Foong to compile our top 15 must-go places for the perfect Instagram shot on the tiny island.
CONTRIBUTOR: CLEMENT FOONG
01/ THE HIVE @ NTU
Thomas Heatherwick may have a sudden craving for dimsum during the conceptualisation of this curious-looking building, but the sight of it will make you reach out for your camera more than the chopsticks. Completed in 2015, this eight-storey learning hub has since been attracting a steady stream of urban explorers.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Pioneer (Green Line), followed by bus 179
02/ ROCHOR CENTER HDB
Completed in 1977, these four colorful blocks of HDB flats has been the backdrop of the city center skyline for the longest time. But come Sep 2016, it will cease to exist to make way for redevelopment. Drop by now before it become a part of history.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Bugis (Green/Blue Line)
03/ PEARL BANK APARTMENTS
Pearl Bank may once be the tallest and densest residential building in Singapore when completed in year 1976, but instagrammers are really here nowadays to admire it's perfect C-shaped vertigo that is apparently not found anywhere else in Singapore. If you're resourceful enough to get pass the security, do spend time to explore its interesting architectural features including the interlocking split-level design joined by overhanging parapets.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Outram Park (Green/Purple Line)
04/ PEOPLE'S PARK COMPLEX 珍珠坊
Designed by former DP Architects, the complex bright orange and green squarish facade may not immediately conjure the sense of architectural grandness, but you'll be amazed by the number of interesting shots you can get here, the most featured ones being the play on reflection (#puddlegram) from the open air carpark above the mall. This level is accessible by taking the lift from the mall to Level 5, and then onwards to Level 6 via the stairs. You'll also get a great view of the sweeping Chinatown shophouses with the taller modern buildings on the background.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Chinatown (Purple Line)
05/ NATIONAL GALLERY OF SINGAPORE
One of the newer addition to the list is Singapore's very own national gallery, reopened in Nov 2015 after a SGD532million refurbishment project. Combining the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, take your pick from a strong list of photo opportunity spots from the spacious hallway of the court foyer, to the Rotunda and the Padang Atrium.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT City Hall (Red/Green Line)
06/ SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN (SUTD)
SUTD opens the door to its spanking new Changi campus in Jan 2015, and has been hosting a steady stream of Instagrammers mainly to two of its buildings, the award-winning Library Pavilion and the Sports Complex. Fans of minimalism may want to book extra time at the white spiral staircase located at the campus center.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Expo (Green Line)
07/ THE INTERLACE
Completed in 2013 to 1040 units of private apartment units, the Interlace's ground-breaking architecture style breaks away from Singapore's standard topology of isolated apartment towers by dramatically interlinking the blocks together to create a expansive interconnected network of living and communal spaces set against a thriving green natural environment. While the architectural marvel is best (and mostly) admired from a distance due to its private residence status, it may be worthwhile making a few new friends residing inside for a closer look at the 31 interlocking magical lego blocks.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest Labrador Park (Yellow Line followed by bus 51 or 93)
08/ MILLENIA TOWER
Millenia Tower houses the giant pumpkin that is starting to be kinda shot to death already but you can understand why people are crazy about posing here once you arrive. The lobby features four illuminated columns and comes with gleaming shiny floor tiles, making the perfect reflection shot a little less painstaking than usual. Look out too for the cascading water feature outside, with its lesser known name "Temasek Reflection" - perfect spot for some night shots. Remember to access the walkway behind the water wall as well for some creative alternative composition.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Promenade (Yellow Line)
09/ ESPLANADE BRIDGE
Spanning 261-meter long, the Esplanade Bridge may seem to afford a few pretty spots, but really most of the impressive work are execcuted from about the same location, from under the bridge. Once you're done with the leading line shot, a slight change of perspective may afford you a different coverage of the everyday life unfolding before your eyes.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Esplanade (Yellow Line)
10/ WCEGA TOWER
Like a clean, fuss-free block of brick, this commercial tower tickles the fancy of minimalist fans with its symmetrical lines and startling monotony, forming the perfect backdrop for any diversion from its homogeneity. It may not seem like much from the outside, but the magic starts as soon as you reach the rectangular hollow space inside.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Bukit Batok (Red Line, followed by bus 189)
11/ BLOCK 63-66 YUNG KUANG ROAD
It may now be home to low income workers and foreign workers, but this set of 21-storey-high public residence blocks has been one of the favourite haunt of fellow urban explorers here to soak in its minimalist lines and homogeneous forms. The corridors almost always seem to be void of any activities, you could roam around freely across the four buildings, connected to form a diamond shape, without ever bumping into anyone, just perfect for some quiet time between you and your camera.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Lakeside (Green Line, followed by bus 98)
12/ MASJID AL-ISLAH
Masjid Al-Islah's famed domed prayer hall keeps urban explorers at awe especially with sunlight filtering through the structure. Take time to admire the intricate latticework too.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Punggol (Purple Line)
13/ THE PROJECTOR
In a commendable effort to turn around the fading Golden Cinema, the Projector was born to continue the legacy of this heritage building, thankfully with both the retro classic spiral staircase and the old school cinema seats stil intact.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Nicoll Highway (Yellow Line)
14/ MARINA SQUARE ROOFTOP
Trust an urban explorer to find a structure as peculiar as the maze-like pathways on the level 4 rooftop of Marina Square shopping mall. Very few is said about its background but that of course does not stop all the pretty shots coming.
DIRECTIONS: Nearest MRT Esplanade (Yellow Line). Accessed via the escalators near Carl's Junior at ground level.
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