Singapore may be a small country in size, but where architectural marvels are concerned, it definitely stands tall with some of the biggest cosmopolitan cities around the globe. This economic powerhouse of the East has nurtured and attracted some of the most brilliant architectural minds to create its cutting-edge cityscape. With noteworthy landmarks and incredibly diverse building styles and histories, it would be any architect’s dream to visit this magnificent city and be awe-inspired by its architectural aesthetics. It was only fitting that the budding first year architecture students of the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) got the opportunity to visit the city last month. Over a packed five day schedule, the students with their teaching faculty had the chance to visit educational institutions and observe first-hand the breadth of architectural styles across Singapore. The students’ main goal for their visit was to work on their final assignment of the year in which they were tasked with interviewing their client, Mr. Sim Lye Huat, and designing a residential house model for him. Mr. Sim Lye Huat is a well-respected architect, pioneer in his field, and the director of the architecture firm Sim Lye Huat Trading Co.
Day one began in the evening of 15th of March, 2017, as the six AUPP architecture students and faculty escort arrived in Singapore and made their way to the renowned hawker’s center where they were delighted by the gastronomical pleasures presented to them. After a night settling in to the city, the group prepared for the following full days of touring the city, meeting students, and first-hand observations.
Day two began with a trip to the HDB gallery, the visitor center of the Housing Development Board of Singapore, where the students learned about the unique evolution of public housing in the city. Next, the architecture entourage headed to the National University of Singapore’s School of Design and Environment where they were invited to see first year students at NUS present their projects and receive critical feedback.
Day two continued with the students meeting Mr. Sim Lye Huat. They had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time interviewing him and collecting valuable information about the requirements for the residential house model project. After a successful interview with Mr. Huat, the students then explored the city and had the chance to visit and study the famous Terrace Houses of Singapore.
On day three, the whirlwind educational visit continued with the students visiting the Urban Redevelopment Authority where they were given the opportunity to observe a to-scale model of urban Singapore and learn how the city developed. Next they headed to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum to view the building’s unique Tang Dynasty architectural style. Following the temple visit, the students had the chance to examine an urban structure that combines lofty sky gardens and abundant greenery, the Parkroyal hotel at Pickering. After that the students went to Lasalle College of Arts, an arts educational institution in Singapore, and followed that visit with a stop at the site of their project near the Botanic Garden. The students ended their very full day of architectural touring by checking out the Helix Bridge, a well-known pedestrian bridge linking Marina Center with Marina South in the Marina Bay area in Singapore.
On the fourth day of the tour, the students started the day by visiting the National Library of Singapore, which is an award winning building itself. It consists of two 16-story blocks, with three basements, and the blocks are linked by sky bridges on every floor. After this, the students headed to the colonial side of the city and observed some of the old colonial sites like the Raffles Hotel and Hotel InterContinental. The students then headed to Chinatown for lunch where they observed the street architecture of the buildings and the shop-houses, which combine the different elements of Baroque architecture and Victorian architecture. At night, the students visited the Night Safari, which is the world’s first nocturnal zoo and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Singapore.
On day five the trip to Singapore came to an end. Exhausted and full of information and new experiences, the students returned to Phnom Penh. Students and faculty reported back that the expedition was very successful. AUPP is committed to providing enriching educational experiences for students and is proud that our students and faculty take full advantage of such opportunities. Finally, AUPP would like to send our deepest gratitude to our Adjunct Faculties from Singapore, Mr. Eric Yii Ee Lee, Mr. Cheo Kae Jer and Mr. Tze Ming Chu for making this trip a possibility for the students and giving this wonderful opportunity of exposure to the young budding architects of AUPP. By organizing trips to architectural marvel cities like Singapore, students can be exposed to the diversity of contemporary cityscapes of Southeast Asia and find the inspiration to become the future architects and builders of Cambodia.