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The new Marina Bay Sands integrated resort cuts a dashing architectural figure on the Singapore skyline


Creating a 57-storey resort that accommodates 581,400m² of hotels, convention centres, shopping, dining and entertainment without obstructing views of the waterfront is no mean feat. But this project not only had to be an urban structure that tied these elements together, the design also commanded it provide a symbolic gateway to Singapore from the sea.

Surely, Marina Bay Sands has to be judged one of the most ambitious projects to come out of Asia in its architectural aesthetic, construction timeline and civic contribution to Singapore. The integrated resort features a casino, theatres, a convention centre and museum, all connected by layered gardens and a series of bridges and walkways.

In pride of place, seen from both the ocean and city beyond, stand three dramatic hotel towers with 2561 rooms, connected by a 12,400m² cantilevered open-air SkyPark. At the base of these sit 75,000m² of retail and dining facilities.

Internationally recognised architect Moshe Safdie designed the concept for Las Vegas Sands, which won the government tender to build the resort.

"Ancient Greek and Roman cities were structured around main streets which formed monumental axes. This gave them a sense of orientation and location, and a focus for civic life," says Safdie.


For Marina Bay Sands, Safdie explored a variation on this concept. "The solution was to create a city in microcosm. This is a new kind of urban place which changes from hour to hour, integrating civic areas, shopping, dining and outdoor green spaces with panoramic views to provide an abundance of activities. It was also important to ground the architecture in Singapore's history, culture and contemporary life."

Safdie commissioned large-scale art installations by internationally renowned artists Antony Gormley, Chongbin Zheng, James Carpenter, Ned Kahn and Sol LeWitt to complement the architecture on both the facade and interior of the resort.

Kevin Jose, principal architect at Aedas, saw Safdie's design through to completion. He says that although the project team was working to a challenging deadline, the end result was spectacular.

"The bay is reclaimed land, so it was important to build an incredibly solid foundation to compensate for this," he says. "Geometrically, the structure was complex, but the team was working to a well-considered design. The SkyPark, for example, was one of the great successes of the project. Although it is very complicated, cantilevering 66.5m beyond the tower, by the time it came to construction the process was very straightforward," says Jose.

The vision for the interior was equally thoughtful. The interior fit-out was overseen by Simon Thompson of Aedas, who says the design is contemporary, and channels an international flavour.

"Marina Bay Sands references a variety of different styles throughout which come together to create a complex yet cohesive design," he says. "The significant difference between this resort and any other is the deliberate distinction between the casino and hotel. Here, the hotel and conference facilities predominate. Access to the casino is separate, so the hotel remains a family-friendly area," says Thompson. "In the hotel and lobby, clean lines and texture create a classic yet contemporary feel, with an American influence."

Conference facilities cover more than 120,000m² over five floors and can accommodate up to 45,000 delegates. Moveable partitioning allows for a variety of different spaces to suit the needs of the clients.

The casino has a much stronger presence. Bold colours and textures were used throughout, while void space creates a deliberate impact in the design, and also highlights the ribbed ceiling and feature chandelier.

First published date: 14 September 2010

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Credit List

Owner Marina Bay Sands
Developer Las Vegas Sands Corporation
Concept design architect Moshe Safdie, Safdie Architects
Casino concept design Safdie Architects; Rockwell Group
Project architect Kevin Jose, Aedas
Project interior designer Simon Thompson, Aedas Interior designer, hotel room, corridors &
MICE facilities Hirsch Bedner Associates
Structural engineer Arup
Mechanical and engineering design RG Vanderweil Engineers LLP
Mechanical and engineering production Parsons Brinckerhoff
Quantity surveyor Rider Hunt Levett & Bailey
Landscape architect design Peter Walker & Partners
Landscape architect production Peridian International
Lighting consultants Project Lighting Design
Art Drift, Antony Gormley; Rising Forest, Chongbin Zheng; Blue Reflection Facade with Light Entry Passage, James Carpenter; Wind Arbor, Rain Oculus, Tipping Wall, Ned Kahn; Wall Drawing #917, Arcs and Circles, Wall Drawing #915, Arcs Circle and Irregular Bands, Sol LeWitt
Water features Howard Fields Associates International
Theatre consultants Fisher Dachs Associates
Graphics, signage and wayfinding Pentagram