Years of being an urban dweller have spurred my fascination with skylines of cities around the world. The display becomes more spectacular after sundown, with a collage of street lights and colourful kaleidoscopes that light up the city, creating an urban masterpiece. These majestic urban landscapes echo the cities’ economic and cultural vibrancy while encapsulating their architectural ingenuity and the brilliancy of urban lifestyles. From New York to Dubai and Sydney, these cities are the canvases for renowned and inspiring architects like Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower), Walter P. Chrysler (The Chrysler Tower), Jorn Utzon (Sydney Opera House), and more recently Mosche Safdie & Associates (Marina Bay Sands) to showcase their creative works.

“…the façade offers visitors a poetic feel, but blocked the perception of the sea beyond the bay” Stephane Lasserre, Singapore Director of B+H International Consulting

The Marina Bay Sands project is an integrated Resort that is being developed by gaming giant, Las Vegas Sands, at Marina South - a peninsula adjacent to the Central Business District in Singapore.  It will also house Singapore’s second casino after Resort World Sentosa. The much anticipated project is scheduled to complete later this year. According to Stephane Lasserre, Singapore Director of B+H International Consulting, a complicated project of such capacity demands elaborate planning and takes several major factors into consideration, such as urban integration, environmental impact and sustainability. When completed, Marina Bay Sands will add to Singapore’s skyline, but to what extent? Kateri Chew, Senior Architect feels that it lacked a certain “cultural element”, something that reflects upon the local heritage.  “In comparison, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, incorporated design motifs found in Islamic art - a reflection of Malaysia's Muslim culture” Chew explained.

Lasserre thinks it is a pity that “the 'massing' (a design term which relates to the arrangement of shapes) is elegantly designed, but can only be appreciated from a profile view.” He added, “Despite its grandiose façade and the one hectare Sand SkyPark terrace on the roof, it falls short of being an iconic structure for Singapore, unlike the New Shanghai World Financial Center in Shanghai”. In spite of the opinions, as construction draws nearer to completion, businesses and visitors predict that it is likely to be a major business and entertainment destination in Singapore and the Southeast Asian region.

Verdict: BANE