Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shrunken Singapore at the URA Gallery

If I'd brought an umbrella to lunch I would never have stumbled upon the URA Singapore City Gallery. I had just finished a meal at Maxwell Road Hawker Center when it started to rain. It was one of those sudden tropical downpours and was coming down way to heavy to leave the covered area, so I followed the umbrella-less office workers making a mad dash across the street to the nearest building - the URA Centre. While it is mostly government offices, it also houses a city-planning gallery with completely free admission. What better place to wait out the rain?  


You can read my full review of the URA Gallery at the Travelfish Singapore blog:



One exhibit I lingered over was the architectural model of the city. The model of the city center is so ridiculously detailed that every shopping mall and hotel would be immediately recognizable even if they weren't labeled. They must have got some free labour from art students!  Here's a couple of my favourite Singapore buildings in miniature:





Parkview Square, AKA "The Batman Building", for its gothic style. When we first moved to Singapore we were pretty damn impressed by it, then learned it was inspired by a New York skyscraper built in 1929 that's another 60 meters taller! I've been inside twice -- originally to pay for a flight with Emirates Airlines then again to check out the Divine wine bar with an "angel" who retrieves bottles from the towering wine cooler -- the interior is as impressive as the outside!


 

For the longest time I thought this mall was called Takashimaya (the name of the large department store inside) and not Ngee Ann City. This is the place to shop for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, and Tiffany, or get lost in the stacks at the huge Kinokuniya Bookstore on the 3rd floor. Like in Japan there's a specialty foodhall in the basement, but it's always too damn crowded for me to bother.
  

The model of residential areas aren't as detailed, but I still managed to find my previous apartment in Ghim Moh.  My current apartment, a low-rise condo development beside Kent Ridge Park that's already slated for redevelopment, wasn't on there at all!

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