The “Singapore Bund” - the waterfront - reflects the colourful history and exciting nature of the city state as seen in paintings, maps, posters, photographs, and its outstanding architecture. Two hundred years of global forces – climatic, economic, political – have left their imprint on this waterfront, which has been a focal point for festivities over the years. New Year’s Day was celebrated from 1834 to 1962 with a regatta; future British kings visited this place; and colonial governors landed here with 21-gun salutes. The island has been globally connected for at least a millenia, and since 1819, it has been a free-trade zone, open to seaports around the globe that encompassed Pax Britannica.
Singapore’s waterfront companies managed the dissemination of money, manpower, and materials. This culminated in the early 20th century with a “marine parade” of grand office buildings, including neo-baroque “cathedrals of commerce” and art deco skyscrapers that spoke the lingua franca of the corporate world and echoed the Imperial realm. Singapore’s own version of the Shanghai Bund, one might say. Since independence in 1965, Singapore has grown to become an important hub in the 24-hour economy. The Marina Bay financial district is the heir to the waterfront’s legacy. Channelling global capital and assets housed in futuristic “starchitecture”, it is the new glittering symbol of the city’s iconic waterfront.
About the speaker
Andrew Tan is an independent heritage consultant who specialises in Singapore’s colonial buildings and neighbourhoods, connecting architectural style and urbanisation with social and political history. He has given talks on heritage landmarks founded by leaders in politics, business, and philanthropy. He studied art and architectural history at the University of Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and the University of Pennsylvania.
This lecture is free. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration is required.
Image courtesy of Andrew Tan.
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