The Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) honored 22 projects in its 12th annual architectural design awards program, highlighting the broad range of work being done in the design-minded city state. Two projects—Martin No. 38 by Kerry Hill Architects and 19 Sunset Place by ip:li Architects--shared the Building of the Year honor. 

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Martin No. 38 by Kerry Hill Architects

While designing Martin No. 38, a mid-rise condominium with 91 apartments, Kerry Hill took inspiration from New York City loft buildings and gave the project its rugged good looks by using industrial materials such as concrete and metal in a sophisticated manner. At 19 Sunset Park, ip:li Architects expanded a single-family residence by wrapping an existing brick building with a new concrete structure, creating a fascinating hybrid of old and new.

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19 Sunset Place by ip:li Architects

Other projects that won awards included: House in 3 Movements by RT+Q Architects, The Marq apartment tower by SCDA Architects, the Education Resource Centre by W Architects, the Barcode Office interior by Ministry of Design, and the Hanging Garden in CBD by AgFacadesign with Tierra Singapore. View a full list of winners

I served on the design jury and was impressed in particular by the innovative but livable designs for multifamily housing projects—both highrise and lowrise. Architects in Singapore have become talented in adapting their residential projects to the tropical climate, merging indoors and out while reducing energy use. My colleagues on the jury were: Ashvinkumar (a past president of the SIA), Fun Siew Leng (group director, of Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority), Saifuddin Bin Ahmad (president of the Malaysian Institute of Architects), and Wong Yunn Chii (head of the department of architecture at the National University of Singapore). Laurence Liew, who is a director of DCA Architects in Singapore, did much of the hard work of organizing the jury and served as moderator. 

For many years Singapore had the reputation of being an efficient but boring place, a clean and safe piece of Asia that had swept away all of its interesting, gritty, urban bits. Well, forget that; it's no longer true. Yes, it's still a city where the subways work and foreigners can ensconce themselves in bubbles of contemporary commercialism, if they want. But it has developed a vibrant culture of design that has nurtured a generation of architects, clients, and government officials willing to take risks, push modernism in new directions, and make sustainability an integral part of the civic ethos.