SINGAPORE: The NS Square, which will replace The Float @ Marina Bay, will become a “red dot” and the “central focus” of Singapore’s downtown, announced Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day message on Sunday morning (Aug 9).
Revealing artist's impressions of the area for the first time, Mr Lee said the development will be aligned on a central axis, with The Promontory on the opposite side of Marina Bay.
“The platform will become a red dot, shining bright in our city. NS Square will be the central focus of our new downtown. We will build a gallery there to showcase our National Service story, and honour the contributions of national servicemen past and present.
“NS Square will also be a community space for everyone, young and old, to enjoy. And of course, we will continue to hold our National Day Parades there.”
Mr Lee had announced in 2017 that The Float @ Marina Bay would be redeveloped into a permanent space to commemorate national service, renamed NS Square and serve as the primary venue for the National Day Parade.
After completing their basic military training (BMT), national service recruits hold their passing out parade at the Float, said Mr Lee.
“It helps them to understand what they are defending, and why generations of national servicemen have been willing to serve and sacrifice, to defend this metropolis that we have built together, and also the society that created all this: Our families. Our friends. Our lives. Our future.”
BRINGING SPECTATORS CLOSER TO THE ACTION
The Ministry of National Development (MND) and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said a new permanent stage deck will replace the current floating platform, with a grandstand of about 30,000 seats.
"The tiered curved seating stacks will wrap around the stage to provide an uninterrupted line-of-sight to the stage from all angles as well as bring spectators closer to the ‘action'," said the ministries in a fact sheet issued on Sunday.
When not in use for events, the stage area will be a multi-purpose space for community activities, said the ministries.
A new waterfront promenade around the stage will form "part of a continuous loop" around Marina Bay and improve pedestrian connectivity in the area, the factsheet said, and the area will be open all year round.
The development will feature a water sports facility to support activities such as dragon boating, canoeing and kayaking, said MND and MINDEF.
"This facility, part of a larger network of water sports facilities around Marina Reservoir, will provide the community with greater access to water-based recreational options in central Singapore," the factsheet read, adding that there will also be a swimming pool and water play areas.
In July, MND and MINDEF announced that the redeveloped floating platform will house a water sports centre, a swimming pool and a National Service-themed gallery when it is completed by 2025.
With a mix of open and enclosed spaces, the gallery will "showcase Singapore's defence and NS story", and "acknowledge the contributions of our national servicemen past and present", the ministries said in Sunday's factsheet.
"Stories of servicemen from the Singapore Armed Forces and Home Team will be told through various multimedia platforms and hardware displays."
The design consultancy tender for the redevelopment of The Float @ Marina Bay was awarded to a team led by WOHA Architects, with works scheduled to start in March 2022.
Apart from hosting National Day parades, the redeveloped venue could also be used to stage large-scale national and community events such as River Hongbao and the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown, the ministries said.
READ: ‘We will need this unity and resilience more than ever’ in fight against COVID-19, says PM Lee in National Day message
The Marina Bay floating platform was built in 2007 as a temporary stage while the National Stadium was being reconstructed. It was originally slated to be the venue for this year's National Day Parade, but NDP 2020 has since been scaled down in line with COVID-19 guidelines.
Watch Mr Lee's National Day Message: