Flying the local flag

Flying the local flag
Among the works of CPG are the former Supreme Court (above), which will become the new National Art Gallery; the new Supreme Court; and the National Museum of Singapore.

SINGAPORE - Sometimes, you do not need a starchitect.

Amid Singapore's crowded skyline of Moshe Safdie, Daniel Libeskind and Zaha Hadid designs, home-grown firm CPG Corporation has quietly built up a repertoire of iconic buildings over 180 years.

As the firm celebrates its 180th anniversary this year, its president and chief executive officer Khew Sin Khoon tells Life!: "We know that having foreign architects on board projects sounds like a sexier idea. And they do bring a lot of ideas, which is good for Singapore as we strive to be a world city."

That said, Mr Khew, 54, adds: "We do everything from building park toilets to bus stops to hospitals. Most people probably won't notice our work because these buildings are used every day, but we like to say that we care for Singaporeans' needs from cradle to grave."

Indeed, flipping through a commemorative book published this year detailing the firm's long history, you will find evidence of CPG Corporation living up to its origins as the national architect.

Set up in the 19th century, way before Singapore's independence, the company's projects have since included iconic structures here such as Changi Airport's Terminals 1, 2 and 3, the National Museum of Singapore and the upcoming National Art Gallery.

Often, they work in collaboration with foreign architects as the local partner for projects.

Aside from monuments, it also built many of Singapore's first roads, bridges and public buildings, such as the Central Expressway (1991); the first permanent television studio on Caldecott Hill (1966); Singapore's first junior college, National Junior College (1969); and the National Stadium (1973).

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