SINGAPORE – The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) will be adding a new wing to its landmark colonial-era buildings by 2015.
Designed by Singaporean architects GreenhilLi Consultants, the new wing clad in titanium will be a distinctive architectural departure from the 19th-century Neo-classicism of the original structure. The extension looks like a solid box floating in an enclosed space, a metallic cuboid ‘weightlessly’ elevated one level above the ground.
A three-level glass atrium between the existing buildings and the new two-level ‘box’ will provide plenty of daylight and ventilation to part of the 1st level gallery space below while also providing a visual contrast between old and new that reflects the vibrant city-state and other Asian civilizations in the 21st century. Lightweight bridges will integrate the existing and new galleries at other levels.
“The new galleries will take advantage of natural light and provide a different experience for the visitor. We will have the chance to reveal more of the museum’s collection in an innovative and hopefully thought-provoking way,” said Alan Chong, director Asian Civilisations Museum.
The S$5million extension is made possible through a donation by the Hong Leong Foundation. About S$500,000 of the $5million donation will be used to acquire artifacts related to Fujian culture to expand the collection of Chinese objects, and specifically to allow audiences to make connections with the areas which gave rise to trade and immigration.
This is the second time the Hong Leong Foundation has provided major support to the ACM. In 2001, it donated S$2.8 million for the establishment of the ACM’s China gallery, which is named after Hong Leong Group’s founder, the late Kwek Hong Png. The latest donation is part of the philanthropic foundation’s ongoing efforts to promote the understanding and appreciation of Chinese art and culture. Established in 1980, Hong Leong Foundation is the charitable arm of the Hong Leong Group, a large diversified property and finance group in Asia.
Announcing the donation, Kwek Leng Beng, governor of Hong Leong Foundation and son of the Hong Leong Group’s founder said, “By working with the Asian Civilisations Museum, we hope to be able to inform and educate future generations about the roots of our forefathers. The Fujian culture is especially meaningful to me as my late father was born in that region. He came to Singapore at the age of 16 but never forgot his roots. He used to share with us about Fujian, its rich culture and fine art.”