ABC Guide P

Published on 11 May 2015



Ieoh Ming Pei is a Chinese-born American architect and one of the leading figures of modern architecture. He has designed several high-profile buildings worldwide, including the famous glass-and-steel pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris and the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. The 98 year-old ‘starchitect’ has also designed a number of buildings in Singapore, most notably the OCBC Centre building.

Born in 1917 in Suzhou province before relocating to Hong Kong and then Shanghai, the teenage Pei enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States. Later, he transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met and was deeply inspired by French architect Le Corbusier. Pei’s designs are masterpieces of the late-modernist style even though he does not characterise his work as belonging to any particular school of design, emphasising instead a consistent method, what he calls an “analytical approach”. For Pei, each design is a unique response to the building’s geographical circumstance and human context. In 1983, he was named a Laureate of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, the profession’s highest honour.

 (Illustration Jimmy Lee)


Alongside government efforts in the 1970s to support the arts and culture sector was a push to preserve Singapore’s architectural and urban heritage in the midst of rapid development. In 1971, the PSM, under the Ministry of National Development, was founded as the Preservation of Monuments Board. Over the years, it has shifted hands and since 2009 has been merged with the National Heritage Board, and renamed to include sites and places on top of specific buildings and monuments.

The aim of the PSM division is to protect and preserve physical heritage — sites and monuments of national significance — through research, regulation, public outreach and by serving as an advisory board to the government. Some sites and monuments that have been gazetted for preservation include the Former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and the National Museum of Singapore. The PSM is currently applying for UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the Singapore Botanic Gardens.


Pangdemonium is a Singapore theatre company run by husband-and-wife team Adrian and Tracie Pang. Founded in 2010 with its inaugural production of The Full Monty, the company has over the past five years, gained traction and rave reviews for its work, a programme of contemporary, mostly American and British plays.

Applying high-production values and Singapore cast and crew to acclaimed plays drawn from the West End and Broadway, the trailblazing company has become in its short history a major player in Singapore theatre, routinely garnering nominations and awards at the annual Life! Theatre Awards. Across its shows, the company prides itself on introducing new actors to mainstream theatre audiences in Singapore.

To date, Pangdemonium has produced musicals like Spring Awakening (2012) and Next to Normal (2013) alongside intimate full-on drama. Tribes, their latest production, will be playing at the Drama Centre Theatre from 22 May.

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