Inspired by a kaleidoscope of religions, cultures, and communities, Singapore’s architecture is a result of diverse influences. Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples built by Singapore’s early settlers enliven our cityscape with a myriad of colours and forms. Visit these iconic places of worship to appreciate various architecture styles like vernacular, revivalist and contemporary, while gaining insights into Singapore’s history and cultures.
Trace Singapore’s roots by visiting these temples, whose architectures are directly influenced from the Indian or Chinese vernaculars.
Sri Mariamman Temple (Dravidian)
Sri Mariamman Temple. 244 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058793 (Near Chinatown MRT station)
Sree Ramar Temple (Dravidian)
While its architecture is similar to Sri Mariamman’s (Dravidian), Sree Ramar has its own unique qualities; in addition to statues of Hindu deities such as Rama, the temple is also home to statues of Lord Buddha and Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), reflecting Singapore’s multi-religious makeup.
Sree Ramar Temple. 51 Changi Village Road, Singapore 509908 (Near Tanah Merah MRT Station)
Thian Hock Keng Temple (Chinese)
Thian Hock Keng Temple. 158 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068613 (Near Telok Ayer MRT station)
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (Chinese)
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840 (Near Chinatown MRT station)
A prominent architecture style in Singapore, revivalism can be admired at these places of worship while you enjoy both their cultural and historical significances.
St Andrew’s Cathedral (Neo-Gothic)
The oldest Anglican church in Singapore was built on land donated by an Arab settler, and is said to be inspired by the design of a 13th-century English church. Three primary components of this church that establish its relation to the Church of England: the Canterbury Stone, the Coventry Cross and the Coronation Carpet.
St Andrew’s Cathedral. 11 St Andrew's Road, Singapore 178959 (Near City Hall MRT station)
Chesed-El Synagogue (Renaissance revival)
Designed in the Palladian style, and newer of the two synagogues in Singapore, the Chesed-El Synagogue is a Renaissance-era revival of ancient Greek and Roman architectural features. This style is characterised by arches, Corinthian columns and a covered porch where the original intent was to allow horse carriages to pass through. One of the local Jewish community’s most prominent members is the late David Marshall, who was instrumental in fighting for Singapore’s independence.
Chesed-El Synagogue. 2 Oxley Rise, Singapore 238693 (Near Dhoby Ghaut & Somerset MRT stations)
Sultan Mosque (Indo-Saracenic revival)
The current building of “Masjid Sultan” was completed in 1932, and bears all the hallmarks of the Indo-Saracenic style, which is a British Indian style that combines traditional Persian, Moorish and Turkish influences. Look closely and you’ll spot glass bottles decorating the bottoms of its domes—this design solution enabled all members of the Muslim community to contribute to the construction of this mosque.
Sultan Mosque. 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833 (Near Bugis MRT station)
Witness how Singapore blends ancient religions seamlessly into our modern cityscape. These historic places of worship have won acclaim and awards for their striking contemporary designs.
Assyafaah Mosque (Contemporary)
Opened in 2004, the mosque looks nothing like one, and that was intentional. Forum Architects deliberately avoided literal domes, arches and minarets in order to, according to the mosque, search for a contemporary Singaporean identity, unlike other local mosques that are based on Middle Eastern models. In doing so, the architecture focuses on ‘calmness’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘a sense of oneness’, with natural light as a prominent medium. The building won the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award in 2008.
Assyafaah Mosque. 1 Admiralty Lane, Singapore 757620 (Near Sembawang MRT station)