Sunday, April 03, 2016

National Gallery Singapore- Explore two majestic historic buildings for free!

This post is long overdue. National Gallery is Singapore's latest attraction that is worth visiting for those who love art and history. I should have written about it sooner.

National Gallery of Singapore is conceptualized and built by combining two historic buildings in the country- former supreme court building and city hall building. For the people who were responsible for setting up of National Gallery, that was a huge responsibility-Two of the most respected buildings of the Singapore city is to be refurbished to form an art gallery. they had to conserve the historic buildings intact while ensuring that visitors to the gallery get one seamless experience. From what I have experienced during my two visits, I can tell you that the team has done a splendid job in readying the National Gallery of Singapore.
National Gallery Singapore- side view- City Hall building
Covering over 64000 sq meters, National Gallery of Singapore is largest in the region, dedicated to collaborative research, education and exhibition related to art and culture.

Last year, June 2015, National Gallery was still under preparation. During our FAM trip, we got a tour of the National Gallery and got to learn about various significantly important facts about the gallery. But back then, art works were yet to be installed. During my Jan 2016 visit, I went to National gallery again, (with Desitraveler for company) as a ticket paying visitor and got to take a detailed look at the finished product.

A visit to the National Gallery is totally free for Singapore citizens and those carrying PR/Media badge. For all other visitors, there is an entry fee of SGD 20 to access the art gallery. If you just want to admire the building and hang around in general areas or rooftop, then entry is completely free.

Another good thing about National Gallery is that it is open till 10 PM on Friday, Saturday and previous evening of public holidays. I was thinking it might close by 5PM or so, but to our surprise we got time till 10 PM to explore it on Friday. On other days, it is open till 7PM. So if you don't have a weekend, you can still give National Gallery a quick visit on Friday evening.

I will write about National Gallery in two parts. This post, part 1 will talk about the buildings in general and all free to access areas. I will write one or two more posts later covering the art work and other ticketed areas.

The buildings are majestic and worth an admiration. Take a look at outside photos first.
Former Supreme court building, Singapore- now part of National Gallery
View of the National Gallery from across the field
Above- Dome of former supreme court building, from various angles

The gap connecting the two buildings now forms the main entrance to the national gallery. Instead of using traditional ways, new steel pillars are erected and an artificial roof is created on top of the two buildings, allowing enough fresh air and light to pass through, while offering adequate shade against heat..Take a moment to admire the same

The two different buildings are also connected through two bridges. Please note that the two buildings are not at same height when it comes to floor levels, so these bridges are at a slope. This connecting area itself is a photographer's delight.

Rooftop-On the top floor of National gallery there is an open terrace, which houses a small pool in the centre. This area is also a photographer's delight and is must explore.

Reflections of the buildings around makes for great visuals

Above: Left- reflections of Raffles building on the national gallery pool.
Above right- view from under the pool. The water body helps in keeping the gallery below cooler.

I saw some art work on display, with things like Glazed Banana, Sugar, Food colouring, water etc written on top of it. This is an art work named Sira Pisang, by Malaysian Artist Roslisham Ismail. Apparently Sira Pisang is Malaysian for Glazed Banana and is artist's favorite childhood dish. This art work depicts the making of it.

 New Supreme Court building...

There is a restaurant on the roof top offering nice food, great view and balcony seating. If you want cheaper Indian food, Nalan is just a block away

Some great views from the terrace of National Gallery Singapore

Above: Selfie on top deck of former city hall building- you can see St Andrew's Church in the backdrop.
There is also a garden on top of former supreme court building
This dome on top of supreme court building is another attraction where everyone wants to take selfie
This largely covers the free access areas- which you can explore even without a ticket. Interiors of these buildings and art galleries demand a separate post. Will try to write that asap.

Do not miss visiting National Gallery on your next visit- it is relatively new attraction (Opened to public last November I guess) and even if you are not interested in Art, the buildings, the view from the top etc are totally worth a visit and admiration.

Do check the official website of National Gallery of Singapore for details on guided tours and other relevant information

Nearby attractions: Civilian War Memorial * Keepers Singapore  * Peninsula Excelsior hotel*  Fullerton Hotel * More posts on Singapore

Similar: Art gallery of NSW *

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