Hotel Fort Canning

A project of Revitalisation and Reinvention

Hotel Fort Canning and its environs have been the stage to a deeply layered history that is both geographic and national. To reconfigure this 1926 British Colonial-style military building as a contemporary urban hotel, techniques were employed in an anticipatory manner that would creatively re-represent the past in light of new function. Specifically, the ephemeral architectural elements of glass and lighting work to expose and celebrate the layers of this history.

As a conserved heritage building, design work for the hotel necessitated extensive restorative measures — this included the revival of the façade, transforming a lobby back into its original use as an outdoor porte-cochere, stripping columns and ceilings of supplemental cladding to reveal former structure, and repairing timber elements at the grand central staircase, cross balustrades, beams and trusses.

11 Canning Walk, Singapore 178881
Category Hospitality | Conservation & Heritage
Year 2011
Size 11,200sqm
The design techniques of stratification and exhibition highlight difference to clearly pose old against new, dramatically altering the way which we understand the building’s structure, its spaces and its history.
Sunken archaeological pits exhibit 14th and 19th century artefacts excavated from the site.
French doors open to a private landscaped patio.
Hotel Fort Canning is adapted from a military administrative-use building erected in 1926.

Lighting and glass have been implemented to juxtapose original architectural elements with new visual and functional details in a process of layering, highlighting the old against the new and developing a narrative for the structure, its spaces, and its history. Lighting works in an exhibitionist manner to commemorate elements of the building’s original structure: lit coffers open up the ceiling to frame underlying beams; lights embedded in the floors transform each column into a feature on display; the asymmetry of the 1920s central hall is retained and emphasised by an illuminated cove designed along one edge of the ceiling. On the exterior, lights produce a nightlong display of the façade’s original horizontal and vertical components.

Glass details establish striking moments of transition between new and old. Frameless, electric glass doors sit inside of heavy timber portals at the lobby. Four glass-enclosed archaeological pits are embedded into the floor of the reception space to showcase 14th- and 19th-century pottery and earthenware excavated from the hill. In the guestrooms, verandahs are enclosed to become bathrooms and sitting areas in an effort to counter the narrow transverse dimensions of the building. Here, grand doorways float in a frame of glass to highlight the once-existent transition from inside to outside — this becomes the room’s focal point in a unique reciprocal relationship of ‘framing the frame’ to expose the space’s change of function; a similar technique is employed to hold a heavy portal within a plane of glass at the ground floor passageway leading into new reception and lounge spaces.

The refurbished hotel offers 86 guestrooms and access to an extensive outdoor terraced landscape with pool situated above a car park. A bar and restaurant are planned on the ground level adjacent to the main lobby.


2011 Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) 2011-2013 – Regional Series (Gold Winner)
Hotel Fort Canning
2011 URA Architectural Heritage Awards - Category B
Hotel Fort Canning

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