The new 2,000 square metre campus of the Singapore Dance Theatre, located on the seventh floor of Bugis+, a public shopping mall in Singapore popular with youth, comprises a theatre housing four professional dance studios along with supporting facilities like a conference room, a sound mixing room, a study room, a library, a wardrobe room and shower facilities. The circulation of the space was planned to allow for private users to access the studios via secured thresholds while maintaining a welcoming space at the foyer for the public to experience and enjoy.
The design concept essentially tackles the stereotypical views of ballet often held by a layperson and seeks to make the dance form more approachable and accessible to the general public. Through the use of unconventional materials, the design seeks to express the strength and toughness intertwined with the grace and elegance most commonly associated with the art form.
A spacious corridor facing the roof garden leads to the site. With the aim of attracting and educating the public on dance as a performing art, huge perforated sliding doors have been located at the entrance. These doors, kept fully opened during operating hours, maximise the luxury of space and merge the public space with the foyer, drawing visitors in to witness the hard work and dedication of professional ballet dancers at practice.
The impressive height of the site made it ideal to demonstrate the interplay of volumes. In addition to the use of stacked walls, shipping containers are positioned high above the ceiling level – compressing and decompressing the space along the corridors. Mirror panels were strategically placed on the container walls to create the illusion of an endless expanse of space.
The rawness and almost industrial quality of the material palette were intentionally selected to reflect the reality of the art form—the years of practice and discipline required to hone a dancer’s body to respond to the demands of the performance. The weathering steel-like wall finishes reflect the grit and strength that dancers need in order to relentlessly pursue this exacting art form.