First opened on 27 January 1999, Singapore City Gallery is the only gallery in Singapore that tells the story of the nation’s planning efforts, showing its remarkable physical transformation – past, present and future.
Singapore City Gallery Hot
A real gem
What a remarkable place this is. I was visiting the URA building for something else (to look at the display of the future Singapore on the ground floor) when I noticed that there was a gallery on the second floor.
I duly wandered up. Surprise number 1: it is free.
The first exhibit is an amazing audio/ image panorama that takes you through a 24 hour cycle in the life of Singapore. Truly breathtaking. For that alone, it is worth visiting.
Surprise number 2: there is more: lots more. It makes urban planning live. There are interactive games. There is history. There are amazing dioramas. All in all, it is a wonderful exhibit and I am so glad I went.
As I left I commented that it was such a shame that I was the only one there. The old man on the counter smiled weakly and said: don't worry. There will be busloads coming in soon!
But he had a twinkle in his eye!
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Recording the changes in Singapore landscape
The City gallery is probably the only one that documents down the changes that Singapore goes through in terms of its landscape and urban planning. The exhibition spans across 3 different levels, with the first level showcasing a scaled model of Singapore. This scaled model is something that everybody should take a look as it captures the current state of Singapore.
The scaled model is replicated with actual scaled buildings which include HDB flats and the MRT lines. The CBD is probably the most detailed area. I had a lot of fun as I was trying to locate my current flat and the previous one, and the designer did put in the effort to at least ensure that the shape of the building was accurate. I had a chance to see one of the designers at work and he was patiently removing the buildings and then carefully align the new buildings and made adjustments on the spot with his tools. It was no easy task.
For the other levels, it was a place of technology being utilised to create a futuristic interactive experience for the visitor. There is another scaled model of the CBD area on level 2 and you could see all the various buildings along Orchard Road. This is also one of the biggest scaled model in the world as well and is really worth visiting to know more about the history of Singapore.
I've been to quite a number of museums in Singapore and truthfully, I'm quite impressed by every one of them. Contrary to the stereotypical museum experience, all the museums I've been to so far managed to make the learning experience of their respective subjects a fun and entertaining journey. The Singapore City Gallery is no exception.
When I was visiting, there was an architectural exhibition showcasing final year projects of students from NUS, or NTU, I forgot which. The exhibits were impressive and I spent quite some time browsing through their works. Also on the first level were several large model replicas of Singapore. You could even specifically point out the tiny block you live in! Put into such scale, one can't help but feel that Singapore really is just a small country.
The second level was an educational walk through Singapore's history in city planning. You start off in a big, circular room with panoramic video screens all around, then proceed along the walkway to many other surprises like life-sized video projections of ethnic locals stopping you in your tracks. There was even a short simcity-like game where you can try and fail at city planning.
The Singapore City Gallery is worth a visit, no doubt about that, and I'd recommend the attraction for locals and tourists alike.