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05 Jun 2024

Founders' Memorial Groundbreaking
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Founders' Memorial Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking money shot (3)


This milestone marks the next phase of the Memorial’s development


Situated at Bay East Garden, the Founders’ Memorial’s proximity to water, greenery and the city skyline symbolises Singapore’s ability to overcome challenges and persevere through the odds.


Singapore, 5 June 2024 – The groundbreaking ceremony for the Founders’ Memorial marked a significant step in the development of the project since its inception in 2015. Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony at the Memorial’s site in Bay East Garden. The ceremony was also attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong, Minister for National Development & Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee, Co-Chairs of the Founders’ Memorial Committee, Mr Lee Tzu Yang and Professor Tan Tai Yong, as well as representatives from the community including youths, volunteers and artefact donors whom the Memorial had engaged.


From left to right: Co-Chair of Founders’ Memorial Committee Prof Tan Tai Yong, Ms Parvynpal Kaur D/O Hari Singh (Youth leader), Minister Edwin Tong, Ms Tan Shi Ying (Volunteer), Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Arsa Muhammad Naufal (Student), Minister Desmond Lee, Ms Alyah Shadrina Binte Mohammad Taufik (Student), Co-Chair of Founders’ Memorial Committee Mr Lee Tzu Yang.


2          The groundbreaking ceremony featured the shovelling of soil and tree planting, which was inspired by the first tree planting campaign initiated by Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1963, which kickstarted Singapore’s greening journey. The involvement of youth representatives at the ceremony also symbolised younger Singaporeans taking over the baton of nation-building from Singapore’s founding leaders and generation.





Yellow Flame (Peltophorum pterocarpum)


Commonly seen in various parts of Singapore, the Yellow Flame has an umbrella-shaped crown that provides excellent shade while its bright yellow flowers make it an attractive ornamental tree. Its flowers are fragrant and have crinkled petals that resemble tissue paper. This native species is well-adapted to Singapore’s sunny conditions and popular for planting along streets and in parks and gardens.


A Yellow Flame was planted by Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1971 at Tanjong Pagar Community Club.


Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera)


The Sea Grape is a coastal plant that is suited for planting along the shoreline as it is highly tolerant of salt and drought and is wind-resistant. It produces round, berry-like purple fruits that are tightly packed in long hanging clusters. Its flowers are small and white and arranged in spike inflorescences that are 15-25cm long, while its leaves are large and round and often have red veins.


A Sea Grape was planted by Dr Goh Keng Swee in 1975 at Labrador Park, Tanjong Belayer.


Sea Apple (Syzygium grande)


The Sea Apple is a coastal tree of this region and was first adopted in Singapore in the early 1900s. As it does not burn easily, it used to be planted as firebreaks at a time when roads were bordered by flammable lalang wastelands. It bears clusters of large white flowers with showy stamens. Its fruits are oblong with a green leathery rind and are sought after by bats, who eat them and help to disperse the seeds.


A Sea Apple was planted by Mr S. Rajaratnam in 1980 at Block 12 North Bridge Road.


The saplings featured at the groundbreaking ceremony were grafted from trees planted by Singapore’s founding leaders during Tree Planting Days. These will be featured in the Memorial’s landscaping in the future.


Conceptualising the Memorial


3          Envisioned as an integrated gallery and gardens experience at the Bay East Garden, the Memorial commemorates the founding values and ideals exemplified by Singapore’s founding leaders and generation, as well as other key figures who played important roles in Singapore’s path to independence and journey of nation-building. The Memorial also aims to inspire Singaporeans to commit themselves towards a better future, as it will serve as a space to capture the spirit of our nation and unify Singaporeans. It is expected to open in 2028.


Features of the Founders’ Memorial


With a vista of the city skyline and Marina Reservoir, the Founders’ Memorial will be a testament to the bold vision of our founding leaders and generations in overcoming land and water constraints, and the values they stood for.

The Memorial “rising out” of the landscape.


4            The design of the Founders’ Memorial was selected through an international architectural design competition launched in January 2019. The winning submission by Kengo Kuma & Associates in collaboration with K2LD Architects was a site-specific one that represents a bold and imaginative new type of Memorial which rises out of the landscape. The design depicts a path, which represents a journey that traces the legacy of Singapore’s founding leaders and generation.

The design illustrates a path that traces the legacy of Singapore’s founding leaders.

With the Memorial’s unique integrated gallery and gardens setting, visitors can enjoy outdoor performances and activities at the amphitheatre, as well as trails and programmes at its outdoor spaces.


5          The Memorial will feature two two-storey buildings above ground that blend seamlessly into the landscape, and a common basement with an ascending amphitheatre that is linked to the first storey of the Memorial. It will house exhibition galleries, a viewing gallery that overlooks the city skyline, multi-purpose rooms for conducting workshops and programmes, and other outdoor spaces in the gardens. Multiple paths will intertwine and extend from the Memorial’s two buildings, connecting them to the larger Bay East Garden for a seamless experience. 

The viewing gallery that overlooks the beautiful city skyline and Marina Reservoir.


6          The landscaping further reinforces the design of the journey along a path, with lush greenery to heighten the user experience as visitors weave through the garden seamlessly between Founders’ Memorial and Bay East Garden. As a living memorial that will “honour the past and inspire the future”, the landscape will feature plant species that were planted in the early years of Singapore's greening journey, such as the saplings featured in today’s groundbreaking ceremony.


Continued Public Engagement by the Founders’ Memorial

Singaporeans will be invited to contribute to the “Our Memorial, Our Singapore” Mural.


7          The Founders’ Memorial also worked with local illustration studio 8EyedSpud to create an “Our Memorial, Our Singapore” mural which depicts future scenes of Singaporeans enjoying the spaces at the Founders' Memorial and Bay East Garden. This mural will be on display at the Bay South Garden of Gardens by the Bay, near the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome between June and December 2024.


8          The mural is a continuation of the Memorial’s public engagement journey; visitors can engage with the mural through an Instagram filter where they can select from a variety of interactive features, or scan a QR code that leads to an online form where they can select activities that they most look forward to participating in at the Memorial and Bay East Garden. They will also be invited to pen their well wishes for the Memorial. These contributions will be considered for a future hoarding artwork for the Memorial.


9          Since 2015, Singaporeans have been engaged at various stages and on various aspects of the Memorial’s development, including its objectives, concept, location, design, visitor experience, and narrative and content. These efforts have been led by the Founders’ Memorial Committee, comprising representatives from diverse ethnic and age demographics as well as experts in fields such as education, filmmaking and storytelling.


10        For more information on the Founders’ Memorial’s milestones, please visit https://www.foundersmemorial.sg.


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