Building Name – Singapore Life Church
Location – Singapore
Founder – John A.B.Cook
Architect – Laud Architect
Founded – 1883
History of the Church
- Singapore Life Church was established in 1883 and has been around for more than 120 years.
- In 1917, the church purchased a land parcel at 142-144 Prinsep Street and rented it out.
- In 1929, the church was renamed “Say Mia Tng Teck Khak”. The church’s goal was to promote bible knowledge and Christianity.
- On 15 October 1950, the English Worship Service was set up by the Rev Timothy Tow.
- In 1955, the members of Life Church separated into 3 congregations, namely, “Teck Khak”, “Newton” and “English Service”.
- The church rented a piece of land at Changi 10 Mile Stone to build an outreach center called Changi Outreach Station in 1956.
- In 1959, English Life Church purchased land in Newton to build a church which was completed on Oct 1960. They shifted into the new premises from Life Church on the 3rd Sunday of October 1960 and celebrated her 10th Thanksgiving Anniversary. She was then named Life Bible-Presbyterian Church.
- In 1969, a decision was made to rebuild the church. The new building’s foundation was laid in 1975 and the new building was completed in 1977.
- In 1975, the Registrar of Societies approved the Chinese and English church name. The initial Roman pronunciation of “Say Mia Tng Teck Khak” given in 1929 was told to change to English by the order of Registrar of Societies in 1975. Session decided to rename it to “Singapore Life Church”.
Architecture of the Church
- Due to massive underground construction work nearby, the old building had structural problems resulting in visible cracks on the walls.With a large open-air surface car park up front, the land was not fully utilized.
- The design concept is to create a beacon of light within the neighborhood, symbolizing the hope that Christ brings to this world.
- The sweeping roof form, though reminiscent of the predecessor church building, is made contemporary by the seamless white aluminium cladding to create a monolith form. This offers a striking contrast with the monolithic LaSalle College of the Arts building directly opposite.
- A sheath of perforated aluminium panels introduced, allowing light to permeate through to create visual identity.
- The 3 sections of perforated panels are ‘sewn’ together by two flights of black external staircase which emerge suddenly from behind, stitching itself across and upwards purposefully towards the Cross.
- The massing of the building is also treated sensitively by positioning the lower block facing Prinsep Street with the taller tower block further behind and divided by an open courtyard.
- To maximize the potential of their land, they go for 7-Storey building consisting of a 3-Storey podium block to match the existing urban context with 4-Storey tower block above.
- The main requirements in the design brief was for a Main Sanctuary and a smaller chapel to house their worshippers as well as open spaces such as prayer rooms and open spaces for larger communal activities.
- The site is an urban infill development that is required to respect the existing urban grain of the surrounding. Thus, in respecting the scale of its neighbours, a progressive stepping form is created to mitigate the iconic sweeping visage form.
- The main glass opening and the curved main entrance staircase on the 1st storey is positioned to coincide with one of the crevice of LaSalle College of the Arts.
- The white front block comprises mainly of the perforated ‘人’ façade patterns indirectly lit by creating a soft glow on the wall surfaces behind. This bright façade creates an elaborately lit backdrop that emphasizes the dark staircase and feature Cross.
- The building is primarily constructed with reinforced concrete structures, using post-tensioned beams to create column free spaces.
- The north-west elevation comprises of a solid facade housed within an elaborate lattic of aluminium perforated panels.
- The triangulated perforations on the screen are adapted from the Mandarin character for ‘people’ (人).
- This white aluminium filigree facade together with the sweeping aluminium roof form, serves not only as a second layer of sun shading for the building, but also allows an intricate pattern of light glow when the panels are lit from within.
- The south-west elevations is finished with plaster and paint with a full height glass curtain wall dividing two portions of the building.
- A car park is located on the first floor, enclosed within aluminium T-profiled louvres, screening the activity within and providing ‘uplift’ to the floors above.