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Kengo Kuma & Associates chosen to design Founders’ Memorial in Singapore

Singapore Slopes

Kengo Kuma & Associates chosen to design Founders’ Memorial in Singapore

A competition to design the Founders’ Memorial, a multi-acre gallery and garden complex commemorating Singapore’s path to independence and historic accomplishments in its nation-building process, first launched in January 2019 and received 193 submissions from around the world. This month, the Jury Panel of the Founders’ Memorial Committee unanimously selected the design proposed by Japanese firm Kengo Kuma & Associates, in collaboration with Singapore-based firm K2LD Architects.

“The winning design is sensitive and functional,” said Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of the Founders’ Memorial Committee, in a press release, “and embodies the spirit and values of Singapore’s founding team of leaders. It is a unique design, incorporating landscape and architecture, that brings visitors on a journey of discovery.” The jury also felt that the design meaningfully connected the site to public transportation nodes and other sites of local significance. The memorial’s organic rooflines will intentionally frame Bay East Garden, an adjacent waterfront whose pavilions and green spaces have quickly become a point of civic pride.

children running next to large building
With green roofs and organic geometry, the winning design appears to organically rise from the landscape. (Courtesy Kengo Kuma & Associates)

The design team sought to emphasize Singapore’s global standing as a “City in a Garden” by creating a grouping of buildings that appears to rise from the landscape. In the process, they created a memorial that would allow for future growth. “Our design concept for the Founders’ Memorial originates from the idea of a path—a journey tracing the legacy of Singapore’s founding leaders,” said Kengo Kuma in a statement. “It simultaneously honors the past, and inspires the present and future. The design aims to be a ‘living memorial’, to be owned by each new generation of Singaporeans. There will be ample spaces for the celebration of milestone events, all set against the changing skyline of Singapore.” Renderings show amphitheater spaces, landscaped rooftops, large shaded areas, and other open facilities intended to benefit the public. 

Now in its second stage of development, the Founders’ Memorial will be reviewed and modified in a series of community workshops, through which a more refined set of programs can be established. Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2027.