The combination of a relatively small site area, an unusually high plot ratio and absence of height control allowed us to take advantage of the air space and explore the idea of a ‘vertical church’, a signifier of the upward gaze common in religious worship.
The church has always been about celebrating the people that God loves. Being a largely Chinese-speaking congregation, ‘人’ (Chinese character for people) was often surfaced in discussions. This ‘人’ quickly became the nucleus from which our design was built upon. The symbol became not only the inspiration for the building form, but also for the details and motifs throughout the project.
The urban infill site compelled us to compose the architectural massing in response to the neighbouring buildings. The ground floor entrance is positioned to correspond to the institutional building opposite as a symbolic reception of the urban flow into the church. Although unintentional, the general openness of the ground floor car park of the building also allows pedestrians to take shortcuts, connecting Bencoolen and Prinsep Street.
The sweeping roof form, though reminiscent of the previous, now demolished, church building, is made contemporary by the seamless white aluminium cladding. The white cladding creates a monolith form, a deliberate contrast to the darker massing of the neighbouring buildings. Its unique form helps to mark Singapore Life Church as a visual icon along the streetscape. In fact, the church has also become an informal tourist attraction as part of the Bugis Trishaw Route.