Gallery: Lotus-Shaped Singapore Museum Collects Rain and Light


The newly opened over-the-top Marina Bay Sands Casino and Resort in Singapore will soon host a slightly more down-to-earth museum focused on the fusion of art and science. Renowned Architect Moshie Safadie, who has been tickling the edge of green design for decades, designed the mega resort to grab the world’s attention — but the soon-to-open ArtScience Museum is certainly the most environmentally-sensitive building in the development. Interpreted as a lotus flower or outreached hand, the roof deftly collects water and light for the museum’s use.

Heralded to be the first museum of its kind, the ArtScience facility will house 21 galleries totaling 4,800 square meters and it will display works based on the greatest common denominator of art and science — creativity. The galleries will host travelling shows as well as a permanent collection. Singapore’s approach to the project is to attract not only tourists but to encourage cutting-edge thinking as part of its new economy.

The ArtScience Museum takes a forward-thinking approach to the use of natural resources. A central waterfall in the building will be fed by rain caught in the huge bowl that is formed by the roof. The recirculated water is also filtered and used for the restroom facilities.

Each one of the ten fingers that extend out has a generous skylight that fills the upper galleries with abundant daylight. Air conditioning grills built into the floor help save energy as well by cooling only the air at the visitor’s height, rather than the entire space. Called air stratification, the technique is gaining popularity with engineering firms. While the overall $5 billion Marina Bay Sands project is all about geez-wiz conspicuous consumption, the ArtScience Museum at least points in a more promising direction.

+ Moshie Safadie

+ ArtScience Museum


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  1. skyland January 11, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Really interesting design, relounching very very old ideas: the traditional roman atrium-house (“villa”) for example, which had a water bassin in it´s central patio, fed by rainwater directly through an opening in the roof. Or the flat roofs, collecting rain for cisterns in most arid countries of the world. And frankly, the idea of letting in light through the roof of a building is not revolutionary, call it “collecting light” or what you want.
    I think, this beautyful building´s best effect is to transport an idea of our connection to nature, daylight, air and water. but there´s still a long way to go to eco-architecture.

  2. Holcim Awards January 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    This is a great design by a fantastic architect. The idea of an internal waterfall fed by rain is incredible, and only achievable in a warm climate like Singapore. The reuse of the water for graywater systems is also fantastic. This would be an excellent submission to the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction.

  3. perthjudy January 4, 2011 at 9:54 am

    this is super cool. i haven’t heard of many eco-friendly buildings being built so i found this very interesting.

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