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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Singapore High Comission, New Delhi, India

Contemporary design for Singapore officials
The design of the new Singapore High Commission in New Delhi stems from the need to shed the conventional iconography of governmental structures and create one, which, while still remaining monumental and figural, is accessible on a human scale. Four main strategies drive the design for the new Chancery and official residences.

The first is the need to create a coordinated physical plan relating the existing buildings on the site to the new Chancery. This is done by constructing a sequence of interior/exterior spaces linked together by external landscape features that will harness the site into a harmonious whole. The play between mass [solid buildings] and transparent spaces [glass elements, open water/forecourts] allows spaces to oscillate between inside and outside as they fold in and onto each other.

Secondly, is the need to carve out a series of clearly defined but related spatial components, which will house all the necessary bureaucratic programmes for efficient day-to-day functions of the High Commission. Internal spaces are carefully defined into three distinctive zones; open public zone, office zone and secure zone.

Thirdly, the new High Commission is intended to serve and represent Singapore both physically and symbolically. While the vaulted-quality of the pavilion gateway and solidity of the building foster an image of strength, security and diplomacy, it is balanced by open gardens, water features and external event spaces, which create an environment of openness and welcome.

Finally, Indian resources in the form of building materials and local crafts are used in a modern way. Details such as the lanterns above the gateways to Agra, which are fashioned in red stone and ornamented with carved jail motifs, are a source of inspiration. This shows an understanding of the building’s local context
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