1 Red Dot Design Museum

The Red Dot Design Museum is the hub of Singapore’s creativity. Think exhibits, a market, even a design walking trail that takes you around the local area. Housed in a striking red heritage building, the museum hosts more than 1,000 product or communication design exhibits from 55 countries. And if you’re feeling peckish, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes, as well as a popular bar.

 

2 Singapore City Gallery

Get a glimpse of the future at the Singapore City Gallery, which tells the incredible story of the little red dot’s transformation from backwater to international city. There are more than 50 audio-visual exhibits spread over three storeys that document the nation’s challenges and how it overcame them. Most impressive of all is the huge model of the entire country, showcasing its ambitious plans for the future.

 

3 National Museum of Singapore

From the future to the past: the National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest, dating back to 1887. Even the building is an impressive site, fusing historic neo-classical architecture with modern touches to create a unique space. Its permanent collections tell the country’s history, with exhibits dating back hundreds of years. From art installations to festivals, the museum also hosts a regular series of events, so make sure you check what’s on when you visit.

As you’ll know if you visit the Singapore City Gallery, government housing is central to the story of modern Singapore, and few are more famous than the Rochor Centre just outside the central business district. Built in 1977 the towers were initially quite unremarkable, until they were given a new lease of life in the 1990s and painted a series of bright colours. Today they’re a well-known landmark, and attract visitors thanks to the more than 180 shops stocking a wide variety of goods.  Unfortunately the flats will make way for a new highway in 2016, so make sure you visit this colourful slice of Singapore’s history while you still have the time.

4 Esplanade

For a more modern take on Singapore, head to the eye-catching Esplanade. It’s a world class performing arts venue and a landmark thanks to its unique design. The two rounded frames that make up the building are covered with 7,000 triangular sunshades, leading locals to dub it ‘the durian’ after the popular spiky fruit. 

Inside you can catch world-class performers, enjoy a range of art exhibitions, or just while away the hours at the many cafes and restaurants. 

And there you have it: an architectural tour of Singapore. From ancient history to an exciting future, there’s bound to be something for everyone.