Architecture in Bloom

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Courtesy of Artscience Museum

Singapore's newest museum doesn't dwell on the alleged dichotomy between art and science. Instead, it celebrates the connections between both, with lively galleries of interactive displays in areas such as design, media and technology. Called (appropriately enough) the ArtScience Museum, the facility is a highlight of Singapore's Marina Bay Sands entertainment district, and the work of famed Canadian-Israeli architect Moshe Safdie. It doesn't take a scientist to see that Safdie's high-tech but artful design (based on an unfolding lotus flower) masterfully embodies the unifying principles at the museum's heart.

1. Life span
The Helix Bridge, which mimics the structure of DNA, connects the museum to the rest of Marina Bay Sands. It also serves as a gallery for displays of children's art.

2. Lotus positions
The museum's 10 "lotus petals," which soar up to 60 m above the ground, are clad in fiber-reinforced polymer, a material typically used for speedboats and yachts. To give the appearance of lightness, Safdie sheathed the vertical sides of each petal with bead-blasted stainless steel.

3. Recycle and reuse
Channels in the roof funnel rainwater through a central opening, where it falls into a reflecting pool 35 m below. Water from the pool is used in the restrooms and to irrigate neighboring gardens.

4. Keeping it cool
White roofs and other ultra-reflective materials help control the interior temperature. The surrounding 4,000-sq-m lily pond, as well as a 30-m-high fountain, naturally cools the public spaces nearby.

5. Let there be light
The museum's 21 galleries, which are situated within the petal structures, are bathed in natural light that enters through skylights.