The Esplanade- Theatres on the Bay is a waterside building complex located alongside Marina Bay near the mouth of the Singapore River. It occupies around six hectares of waterfront land and was built to be a venue for the performing arts in the island nation of Singapore. It is distinctly recognizable by its shape usually compared to durian, a tropical fruit that is popular all over Asia.
The idea for a center for the performing arts in Singapore has been widely discussed for years and years. It was in 1989 that saw this idea finally coming into fruition when the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts in Singapore recommended an art center to be built. But then it took several years of planning well into the 90’s before construction work finally began in August of 1996. Construction for the Esplanade was completed in 2001 and its doors were finally opened to the public on October of 2002. The development and construction of the arts center run at a cost of SG$600 million.
The design fro the Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay was developed by DP Architects of Singapore in collaboration with Michael Wilford and Partners of London. The original design has its share of criticism coming from the public, comparing the structure to various things from "copulating aardvarks" to being compared to durian because of its distinctive cladding of aluminum sunshades. It was initially considered by many of the residents essentially as an eyesore. But it eventually became a distinct iconic structure in Singapore known for its unique and easily recognizable architecture.
The Esplanade contains a variety of world-class performance spaces. The main areas include the Concert Hall and the Theatre. The Concert Hall can accommodate 1,600 people spread over four levels of seating arrangements. Its orchestral platform can hold up to 120 musicians and features a movable acoustic canopy to provide the best acoustic environments for a diverse range of musical performances.
The Theatre is the venue used to stage musicals and plays as well as advanced multimedia performances. It can accommodate around 2,000 spectators and was designed in part to follow a horseshoe form of a traditional European opera house. Other smaller facilities include the Recital Studio, the Theatre Studio, the Jendela, a library and two outdoor venues.