Architect: W Architects Pte Ltd
Client: National Arts Council
Building of the Year
Design Award (Community Building and Conservation)
At the beginning of the project, the two key buildings in the project were found to be in different conditions. Victoria Theatre, built in 1862, the older building by 43 years, had been largely gutted out in a 1950's alteration, with only three external facades intact from the first version. Victoria Concert Hall, on the other hand, was found to be relatively true to its origin.
The architects brought the two buildings back into a conversation across a re-instated central passageway. Contrasting facade treatments acknowledge and express the buildings' different pasts. This will to keep multiple histories alive is further developed through the layers of the two buildings and the crafting of the interiors.
Each careful decision made in shaping the redevelopment of the complex was informed by a close understanding of the long history of the two buildings. This understanding was filtered, through the lens of an intellectual and sensitive interpretation, to produce an enriched architectural solution.
The judges came away deeply impressed by how an old building could be given new life by reflecting on its past. It was a past that included three eras of demolition and remodelling, each carrying its generation's memory. The new architecture embedding the past in itself, is a confident commentary on, and an abstract resolution to, the nation's history.