Marina Bay Sands is a high-density, mixed-use integrated resort that brings together a 2,561-room hotel, convention center, shopping and dining, theaters, museum, and a casino across the water from Singapore’s Central Business District. Designed by Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie, the 929,000 square meter (10 million square-foot) urban district anchors the Singapore waterfront, creates a gateway to Singapore, and provides a dynamic setting for a vibrant public life.
All photographs by Timothy Hursley
“Marina Bay Sands is really more than a building project, it is a microcosm of a city rooted in Singapore’s culture, climate, and contemporary life,” says architect Moshe Safdie. “Our challenge was to create a vital public place at the district-urban scale, in other words, to address the issue of megascale and invent an urban landscape that would work at the human scale.”
Safdie designed an urban structure that weaves together the components of a complex program into a dynamic urban crossroads and public meeting place. Inspired by great ancient cities that were ordered around a vital public thoroughfare, Marina Bay Sands is organized around two principal axes that traverse the district and give it a sense of orientation placing emphasis on the pedestrian street as the focus of civic life. This new urban place integrates the waterfront promenade, a 74,000 square meter (800,000 square-foot) multi-level retail arcade, and the iconic museum on the promontory. Located along the network of public paths are also two theaters with a combined capacity of 4,000 seats, a casino, a 120,000 square meter (1.3 million square-foot) convention and exhibition center, and an adjustable public event plaza that can accommodate 10,000 people.
Combining indoor and outdoor spaces and providing a platform for a wide array of activities, this vibrant, 21st-century cardo maximus, or grand arcade, also connects to the subway and other transportation.
A series of layered gardens provide ample green space throughout Marina Bay Sands, extending the tropical garden landscape from Marina City Park towards the Bayfront. The landscape network reinforces urban connections with the resort’s surroundings and every level of the district has green space that is accessible to the public. Generous pedestrian streets open to tropical plantings and water views. Half of the roofs of the hotel, convention center, shopping mall, and casino complex are planted with trees and gardens.
Three 55-storey hotel towers anchor the district and are connected at the top by the 1 hectare (2.5- acre) Sands SkyPark. An engineering marvel 200 meters (656 feet) above the sea, the SkyPark spans from tower to tower and cantilevers 66.5 meters (213 feet) beyond. It accommodates a public observatory, gardens, a 150 meter-long (495 foot-long) swimming pool, restaurants, and jogging paths and offers sweeping panoramic views, a formidable resource in a dense city like Singapore.
Shielded from the winds and lavishly planted with hundreds of trees, the SkyPark celebrates the notion of the Garden City that has been the underpinning of Singapore’s urban design strategy.
Moshe Safdie selected five international artists to create eight public art installations for Marina Bay Sands (James Carpenter, Antony Gormley, Ned Kahn, Sol LeWitt, and Chongbin Zheng). The artists worked closely with Safdie to ensure that the site-specific commissions complement the architecture and energize the public spaces.
Design Architect: Moshe Safdie
Client: Marina Bay Sands Pte. Ltd. (A subsidiary of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation)
Public Openings: June 23, 2010 (Sky Park, hotel, retail, convention center and entertainment venues) and Fall 2010 (Museum of ArtScience, performing arts theatres)
Site Area: 154,938 square meters / 15.4 hectare (1,668,000 square feet / 38 acres)
Gross Floor Area: 581,400 square meters (6,258,000 square feet)
Total Area: 845,000 square meters (9,096,000 square feet)
Height: 57 stories / 195 meters (640 feet)
Total Cost: US $5.7 billion, including land cost