Marina Bay Sands Resort & Casino
Singapore is about to take a giant step into a new and exciting future with the opening of the Marina Bay Sands Resort & Casino, a massive entertainment and casino complex under construction since April 2005, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong changed Singapore's stance on casinos, approving legislation to allow "Integrated Resorts" that include gaming.
Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVSC) is going all-out to make the new complex utterly memorable. The total cost is rumoured to be around S$8 billion (around US$5.5 billion), with LVSC committed to investing S$3.85 billion. The 560,000 square-metre site in the city’s new central business district, alone, cost a whopping S$1.2 billion.
These are mind-boggling numbers by any standard. Indeed, by some calculations the Marina Bay Sands will be the most expensive casino ever built anywhere. Design is by the local office of UK-based Aedes, teamed with Massachusetts-based architects Moshe Safdie & Associates, who have designed art galleries, airport terminals, libraries and museums across the world.
Project architect Trevor Thimm was recently quoted in Architectural Record as saying the scheme is designed as “a microcosm of the city.” He added, “The massing and siting of the buildings maintains views and connections to the waterfront.”
There are five main components to the complex: the hotel; the casino with its attendant clubs and theatres; a vast shopping mall with restaurants and bars; an enormous conventions and exhibition centre, and the ArtScience Museum.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The three curve-waisted towers of the Marina Bay Sands five-star hotel soar 55 floors into the air, and contain 2,600 suites and rooms, along with a variety of restaurants, bars and entertainment.
The towers will be topped – and linked – by the 8,000-square-metre Sky Park, featuring carefully manicured gardens, jogging paths, restaurants, spas and a swimming pool, all with huge, open, 350-degree vistas, to the west across the towers of the city's financial district, north to the Suntec tower and the Formula 1 track, or south and east across the Malacca Straits shipping roads that are the lifeblood of the Lion City's trade.
The Sky Garden will be cantilevered out past the towers by five metres at one and and 50 metres at the other, and poses unique challenges to the designers. Project architect Trevor Thimm told Architectural Record that his team are “treating the cantilever as an airplane wing”. Wind engineering specialists have been brought in to advise on ways to do this.
The towers will also be connected by a walkway at the 25-floor level
The casino at the Marina Bay Sands is by no means the only form of entertainment, but it is an important part of the complex. It will contain 1,000 gaming tables and 1,400 slot machines.
Overlooking the main floor will be the Paiza Club, with private gaming rooms and luxury service. Members of the club will also have access to the élite kingdoms of the Sands Macao and the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, as well as the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino and The Palazzo in Las Vegas.
Close by will be two theatres, together holding up to 4,000 people. LVSC promises a variety of Asian and international shows: “From Broadway to Bollywood, live concerts to film gala awards, Marina Bay Sands will energize the Singapore entertainment scene with glamour and pizzazz on a scale unlike anything else in the region.”
Jutting out into the bay in front of the complex will be the Waterfront Promenade, with its outdoor event plaza large enough to hold 10,000 people. This is intended to be a venue for high-quality festival events, making Singapore a firm fixture on events calendars worldwide, throughout the year.
Covering 80,000 square metres, the three-level Marina Bay Sands Shoppes will have top brands of fashion and beauty, accessories, consumer electronics and sporting goods from around the world displayed in 300 stores, along with celebrity chef restaurants, cafés and bars in “floating” crystal pavilions. A canal flowing through the centre of the mall will offer boat rides, and there will be an indoor skating rink.
Conventions & Exhibitions
Singapore is already one of the world’s leading conventions and exhibitions venues, but the Marina Bay Sands will take this reputation soaring to new heights.
Sited in the new central business district, with superb road and mass transit connection to the rest of Singapore, it will have a massive expo hall capable of hosting exhibitions with up to 2,000 booths; a convention centre with 250 reconfigurable meeting rooms capable of holding up to a total of 45,000 delegates; and an 8,000-square-metre ballroom that can handle banquets for up to 6,600 people, or 7,000 people for a stage performance, or 11,000 seated for auditorium-style lectures or presentations.
Las Vegas Sands Corp is already the undisputed leader in the US market for Meetings, Incentives, Exhibitions and Conferences, with 34 of the 100 top Fortune magazine companies as its clients.
The ArtScience Museum
Singapore has long had a reputation for the excellence of its sciences and, more recently, has seen a surge of excellence in the arts. Once again, the Marina Bay Sands will lift both these reputations to new heights with its lotus-shaped metal-and-glass ArtScience Museum.
The museum will be no fusty depository for dusty relics; its stated aim is to “advance the exploration of the arts and the sciences, and the connections between them”. To this end it will be host to a non-stop series of blockbuster art and science exhibitions from around the world.
The architecture, too, is unique. The bowl-shaped roof can be opened to channel rainwater so that it drops as a waterfall through the centre of the high atrium. At night, the roof can be closed to serve as an amphitheatre for spectacular light and laser shows with fireworks against the glittering Singapore skyline.