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Clean lines define Singapore's style of architecture, says Rene Tan of RT+Q Architects

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Rene Tan, director of RT+Q Architects. 

The architectural landscape in Singapore is actually very good, especially for a country with a small
 size and population. It has a disproportionately large amount of good architecture. I think this is mainly because architects in Singapore are very aware of what is happening globally and locally. The proliferation of information has helped architects learn 
from one another.

A good indication as to 
the health of Singapore’s architectural landscape is
how well-
represented we
are in magazines,
 both local and 
international, in
 print and on digital
 platforms. The
 fact that Singapore
hosted the World
 Architecture 
Festival over four
 years is a good
 reflection that
 the world knows 
how exciting
 Singapore is, both as a city, as well as for its great architecture.

RESIDENTIAL PROSPECTS

Firms such as RT+Q, among others, have benefited from
a steady opportunity to do architecture. Singapore is always reinventing itself. There are not many buildings, large or small, that are more than 30 to 40 years old.

Residential architecture, in particular, is an important staple for architects in Singapore, because the population is always trying to upgrade itself. This provides ample scope for architects to act and to build, compared
to many other countries.

DESIGN TRENDS

Being a small country, Singapore architects are very aware of what one another is doing and that is a very good thing for the profession. We learn from our peers and the work that they are doing.
 When that happens, there tends to be similarities in ideologies 
and in the built architecture. This is one reason why Singapore has garnered a positive image for having a consistent approach to architecture. Of course, there are also other practical considerations, such as weather, that makes the architecture in Singapore similar
in spirit, though not identical in execution.

So, yes, there is definitely a trend in Singapore architecture, but there is sufficient diversity without
being homogeneous.

‘SINGAPORE STYLE’

Broadly, this can
be defined as a contemporary approach to modern architecture that uses current building materials that are sustainable and that can withstand the demands of weather, while addressing practical requirements.

It is not a distinctly defined style, but I do believe that there is a clear spirit. I prefer the use of the word “spirit” because I think it reflects a more rigorous methodology in the pursuit of architecture.

On another level, one can
 speak of a “Singapore Style” 
based on its clean lines. This is an important catchphrase that is easily understandable and accessible
to non-architects and the public, who can hence identify with what architects in Singapore are doing.

One of Singapore’s most prolific architects, Rene Tan was named Designer of the Year at the President’s Design Award in 2016.