Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg
Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

Doing Justice to Modern Art: Inside Singapore's New $380 Million Gallery

The occupying Japanese army surrendered here, Singapore's first cabinet was sworn in here, criminals were sentenced to be hanged here. Now, after a 10-year renovation costing S$532 million ($380 million), people can stroll through the former courtrooms and government offices, looking at Southeast Asia's largest public collection of modern art. We take a look inside. Photographs by Nicky Loh for Bloomberg

The National Gallery Singapore stands in the center of Singapore near the towers of architect I. M. Pei's Raffles City retail and hotel complex.

The new atrium, designed by French architect Jean-Francois Milou, connects the old City Hall and Supreme Court buildings that house the artworks.

A guest walks through the atrium.

Visitors look at "Dancing Mutants" by Hernando R. Ocampo. The painting hangs where the judge sat when the building was the Supreme Court, with the curved ceiling designed to project his voice into the courtroom.


The upper link bridge connects the two buildings of the National Gallery. Jean-Francois Milou's tree-like design was chosen in a worldwide competition from 111 architectural designs. 

One of the National Gallery's rooftop bars looks out over the Singapore Cricket Club, with the towers of the central business district in the background. The museum has seven bars and restaurants. 

A visitor takes photos in front of a book displayed in the former Chief Justice's courtroom.

Visitors walk through the foyer of the former Supreme Court, which covers a time capsule containing newspapers from March 31, 1937 and currency from the Straits Settlements. It is due to be opened in 3000. 

The National Gallery displays about 1,000 artworks from a national collection of about 8,000, the largest public collection of Southeast Asian art in the world. 


Books and artworks are on display in the old Supreme Court library. The room, known as the Rotunda, was once a police post. 

The Rotunda dome of the former Supreme Court displayed at the Supreme Court Terrace.

Visitors look at the painting 'Lee Boon Ngan' by artist Chua Mia Tee.

The water-covered glass roof of the National Gallery Singapore in the Ng Teng Fong roof garden. Behind is the new Supreme Court building, designed by Norman Foster. 

The upper and lower link bridges connect the two main buildings. 

A visitor leans against the prisoner's dock in the former Chief Justice's courtroom.

The 'Poem of Zither' by artist Pan Shou.