Thursday, May 29, 2008

Canopy Wins Jury's Vote

Source : The Straits Times, May 29, 2008


Studio Milou's winning concept is the favourite of the public as well

FRANCE'S Studio Milou Architecture, in collaboration with Singapore's CPG Consultants, has won the competition to design the upcoming National Art Gallery, housed in the former Supreme Court and the City Hall.

The design features a linear, draped canopy linking the two historically significant buildings at roof level. A new basement connecting the two buildings will also be built, which will showcase local and South-east Asian art when it is opened in 2013.

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, announced the choice at a news briefing yesterday.

An international jury panel of seven picked three winning designs from 111 entries in a design competition which began last February. The shortlist was unveiled last August.

The jury nominated Studio Milou's concept as top among the three. The design also won over the public.

An exhibition of all the 111 entries was held at City Hall last October, and more than half of 332 visitors interviewed picked Studio Milou's design as their favourite.

PUSHING BOUNDARIES: A new glass roof structure will provide a spectacular exhibition space bathed in filtered natural light. The mesh-like canopy will link the former Supreme Court and the City Hall at the roof level. -- ARTIST'S IMPRESSIONS: STUDIO MILOU

Mr Koh Seow Chuan, chairman of the National Art Gallery Executive Committee, said that the public's continued support is needed 'to build a world-class institution and one that all Singaporeans will be proud of'.

Other factors that determined Studio Milou's win included technical evaluation, track records of the firm and cost evaluation. 'Studio Milou's estimated development cost was within the $320-million budget,' said Dr Lee.

The National Art Gallery was initially scheduled to be completed by 2012. Dr Lee explained that delaying the project by a year will avoid the current resource squeeze in the construction industry.

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is assisting the Art Gallery in content development. SAM's director Kwok Kian Chow said the design shows a good understanding of how the art pieces, the buildings' architectural heritage and contemporary design will build the character of this new museum.

Local architectural experts also approve of the design.

Dr Milton Tan, director of the DesignSingapore Council, said: 'This is the one that pushed boundaries and offers new experiences expected of modern art galleries today.'

Architect Mink Tan of Mink Tan Architects felt that though the canopy is 'flamboyant', its mesh-like, floral design will appeal to the public. 'It will be a good gesture to bring in crowds to an art gallery,' he added.

The other two shortlisted architectural firms were Taiwan's Ho + Hou Studio Architects, which proposed building a framework in wood laminate, and Singapore's Chan Sau Yan Associates, which suggested building another level on City Hall's roof.

The jury included Professor Tommy Koh, Singapore's ambassador-at-large and chairman of the National Heritage Board, Dr Jean-Francois Jarrige, president of the Guimet Musee National des Arts Asiatiques in France, and Dr Kenson Kwok, director of the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Mr Jean-Francois Milou, lead partner of Studio Milou, said his design will 'give Singaporeans a sense of being at home while at the Art Gallery.'

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