Kengo Kuma & Associates and K2LD Architects have won an international competition for the Founders’ Memorial in Singapore, a national landmark that will honor not only Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, but the multi-racial team of which he was a part of in developing the island country as well. Proposed for the 32-hectare Bay East Garden that forms part of Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay, the Founders’ Memorial will complement its surroundings and the nation’s “garden city” reputation with its lush, nature-focused design. The approximately 13,700-square-meter development is slated to break ground in 2022 and is expected to be completed by 2027.

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Unanimously selected from five shortlisted designs, Kengo Kuma & Associates and K2LD Architects’ submission was praised by the jury for its creativity, distinctive place-making characteristics, feasibility and sustainability both in terms of financial longevity and maintenance. The site-specific design is inspired by the idea of a meandering path that traces the legacy of Singapore’s founding leaders to connect the past with the future.

Related: Tropical greenery surrounds a sustainable, solar-powered home in Singapore

rendering of curving walkways on a waterfront
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Set close to the water, the national landmark will be a “living memorial” comprising undulating green slopes that rise up to become green roofs for various buildings, such as the museum and visitor center. Multiple pathways will be carved out of the architecture and landscape to represent Singapore’s multiculturalism. At the heart of the memorial is the “Founders’ Path,” the central spine that joins together the various elements and traverses the garden-like environment.

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rendering of large wood staircases that double as seating and bookshelves

“Our design concept for the Founders’ Memorial originates from the idea of a path — a journey tracing the legacy of Singapore’s founding leaders,” architect Kengo Kuma explained. “It simultaneously honors the past and inspires the present and future. The design aims to be a ‘living memorial’, to be owned by each new generation of Singaporeans. There will be ample spaces for the celebration of milestone events, all set against the changing skyline of Singapore.”

+ Kengo Kuma & Associates

+ K2LD Architects

Images via Kengo Kuma & Associates

rendering of people walking along paths near a green-roofed dome building