Nanyang Technological University architecture

Nanyang Technological University architecture

Singapore Architecture: The Historical, Cultural and Socio-Economic Perspectives

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]





Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To introduce to students a critical overview of Singaporean architecture from a social, historical and cultural point of view.


The study of Singaporean architecture examines the historical, cultural and socio-economic influences on the architectural development of Singapore. The practice of architecture and urban development are clarified and illustrated by the critical analysis of selected case studies of architectural designs at different periods in the history of Singapore. These offer a broad overview of the multi-cultural influences, as well as the innovative technological advances, that have come to characterise Singapore architecture. These serve to place emerging architectural developments within the context of socio-economic and cultural influences.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 – 6

• Introduction to Singaporean Architecture and Development.

• Early Architecture Development in Singapore

• European Influences

• Architecture and Development

• The Architectural Development of the 60’s

• The Architectural Development of the 70’s

• The Architectural Development of the 80’s


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 – 12

• The Architectural Development of the 90’s

• Historical and Continuity of Change

• Innovative Technological Changes and Improvements

• Future directions of Singapore Architecture


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will be able to place current architectural practice in Singapore within a broader socio-historical context. The students will realise that Singaporean architecture is subject to ongoing influence by a range of external and internal influences.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Written Examination: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. K C Ho, Valerie Lim N E, Backlanes as Contested Regions: Construction and Control of Physical Space, Singapore University Press

  2. G L Ooi, Future of Space; Planning, Space and the City, Eastern University Press

  3. R Powell (Ed), Singapore: Architecture of a Global City, Archipelago Press.

  4. Victor Savage, Street Culture in Colonial Singapore, Eastern Universities Press

  5. B H Chua, N Edwards, Public Space: Design, Use and Management, Singapore University Press

  6. URA, Government Circular on Communal Landscaped Terraces, Sky Terraces and Roof Terraces

  7. BSA Yeoh, Contesting space in Colonial Singapore: Power Relations and the Urban Built Environment, Singapore University Press

  8. URA, Duxton Plain Public Housing, Singapore; International Architectural Competition. Urban Redevelopment Authority & Ministry of National Development & Housing Development Board