Monday, April 11, 2011

ArtScience Museum - Palm or Lotus?

The world's first ArtScience Museum. [Pic]

How many museums are there in Singapore?

The Museum Roundtable has 42 members and listed more than 50 museums. Wikipedia suggests 32 in the 'List of museums in Singapore'. Whatever it is, one more was added on 17 Feb 2011 when the ArtScience Museum was officially opened.

ArtScience Museum: A lotus-inspired building
by the bay.

The museum is part of Marina Bay Sands (MBS), one of the two Integrated Resorts in Singapore. It has a distinctive design that makes it recognizable from afar. Most think it is shaped like a lotus flower but it looks to me like a cupped palm. That must be the reason why it is also dubbed the "Welcoming Hand of Singapore".

Interesting design with varying curves and lines. [Pic]
Designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the lotus-inspired building can house 21 galleries within the 50,000 sq ft (4,600 sq m) space. Due to the varying geometry of the building, the galleries have different layout.

'Sink hole' in the middle of the roof. [source:]

The roof is shaped like a 'bowl' with what appears to be a 'sink hole' in the middle. Rain water is collected and channeled through the center core of the building like a waterfall (see video).  The building is also designed to use plenty of natural light.

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition (19 Feb 11-10 Apr 11) [Pic]

I was there for the Genghis Khan Exhibition which has just ended on 10 Apr 2011. According to its website, another visiting exhibition on 'Van Gogh Alive' will follow from 16 Apr 2011 to 6 Nov 2011. At this moment, there is another on-going exhibition on a ninth-century shipwreck (Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds) which ends on 31 Jul 2011.

Shipwrecked Exhibition: Tang Dynasty
Changsha bowls are in good conditions
. [Pic]

There are also galleries which carry permanent exhibitions meant to illustrate the ever so-arguable division and union of Art and Science. The exhibitions are divided into three galleries: Curiosity, Inspiration and Expression. Among other things, you will find Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machine and Kongming Lantern (孔明灯) in there. These galleries are generously spacious to the point that the contents appear anemic.

The water in the reflecting pool is never still
enough for a good reflection picture.

Walking around the building is a treat not the be missed. The museum is 'seated' in a 40,000 sq ft (3,700 sq m) lily pond reflecting pool. The idea of a reflecting pond is terrific except that the stillness of the water is constantly disturbed by the coastal breeze. The plants in the pond urgently require some attention. Rotten lily pads and world class museum simply cannot coexist.

The museum is flanked by the three iconic hotel buildings on one side and the scenic Singapore CBD skyline across the water on the other (See video). You get to see other iconic buildings such as the Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer from the promenade.

Spectacular view across the reflecting pool. [Pic]

At a fee of S$30 (US$24), you are through to all the visiting exhibitions as well and permanent displays. During my visit, I knocked 20% off with my OCBC card. Parking at MBS can be an expensive affair but getting there by public transport is a non-event. However, you get to park for free from 10am-5pm, Mondays to Thursdays when you spend S$20 at the museum.

I will leave you to look at some of the pictures I have taken. If you are inspired to visit more museums, I have also compiled a list of Singapore museums. Do let me know if any is amiss.

More photos:

Water surrounding the museum. [pic]

ArtsScience Museum - Part of its signage. [Pic]

40,000 sq ft of lily pond. [Pic]

Lotus flowers in the lily pond seem to be
halfheartedly planted.

ArtScience Museum has an unmistakable design. [Pic]

There are a total of 10 unique 'fingers'
with v
arying geometry.  [Pic]

MBS Skypark seen through roof panels. [Pic]

ArtScience Museum 'sitting' in a lily pond. [Pic]

21 galleries are housed within these 10 'fingers'. [pic]

'Sink hole' seen from Basement 2 'rain oculus'. [PIc]

External stairs on building. [Pic]

Singapore skyline across the water. [Pic]

Spectacular view along the promenade. [pic]

Wooden long bench around the lily pond. [Pic]

Genghis Khan Exhibition: A Mongolian mummy of an
unusually tall female nicknamed The Princess Giant.

Genghis Khan Exhibition: Mongolian warriors. [Pic]

Shipwrecked Exhibition:
An ornate bronze mirror.

Shipwrecked Exhibition: A wine cup made of pure gold. [Pic]

Museums in Singapore:
  1. 8Q SAM
  2. Army Museum of Singapore
  3. Art Retreat
  4. ArtScience Museum (Marina Bay Sands)
  5. Asian Civilisations Museum
  6. Baba House (NUS)
  7. BCA Gallery
  8. Chinatown Heritage Centre
  9. Chinese Heritage Centre
  10. Civil Defence Heritage Gallery
  11. Fort Siloso
  12. Fuk Tak Chi Museum
  13. Grassroots Heritage Centre
  14. HDB Gallery
  15. HealthZone
  16. Home Team Gallery
  17. Hua Song Museum
  18. Images of Singapore
  19. IRAS Gallery - The Singapore Tax Story
  20. Journey of Dreams (Singapore Flyer Gallery)
  21. Kong Hiap Memorial Museum
  22. Land Transport Gallery
  23. Malay Heritage Centre
  24. Marina Barrage
  25. Maritime Xperiential Museum (Sentosa, opening mid 2011)
  26. Memories at Old Ford Factory
  27. Mint Museum of Toys
  28. Museum of Shanghai Toys
  29. National Library
  30. National Museum of Singapore
  31. NEWater Visitor Centre
  32. National Healthcare Group Polyclinics’ Gallery of Memories
  33. Ngee Ann Cultural Center
  34. Nei Xue Tang - A Buddhist Art Museum
  35. NUS Museum
  36. Police Heritage Centre
  37. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
  38. Red Dot Design Museum
  39. Reflections at Bukit Chandu
  40. Republic of Singapore Air Force Museum
  41. Republic of Singapore Navy Museum (Temporarily closed)
  42. Selat Heritage Centre
  43. Singapore Art Museum
  44. Singapore City Gallery (URA)
  45. Singapore Discovery Centre
  46. SGH Museum
  47. Singapore Philatelic Museum
  48. Singapore Science Centre
  49. Sports Museum
  50. Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
  51. Tan Swie Hian Museum
  52. Tan Tock Seng Hospital Heritage Museum
  53. The Battle Box
  54. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
  55. The Changi Museum
  56. The Live Tortoise and Turtle Museum
  57. The Peranakan Museum
  58. The Singapore Coins and Notes Museum
  59. Woodbridge Museum

"After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well." ~Albert Einstein~

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