Singapore Indoor Stadium


The Singapore Indoor Stadium, also known in its abbreviated form, SIS, was officially opened on New Year’s Eve, 1989, by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Situated along the scenic Kallang River area, it served as part of the government’s urban re-generation project to revitalise the urban landscape, as well as to provide a world-class venue to meet the leisure and sporting needs of the people. Since its opening, over 5 million people have attended more than 3,000 events at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, making it one of the top stadiums in Asia.

Prior to the conception of the SIS, Geylang Indoor Stadium, affectionately known to its regulars as Gay World Stadium, had been the main indoor facility catering to Singapores sporting or entertainment needs of a similar nature. However, the rapidly ageing venue was deemed antiquated with its rundown surroundings and appearance, and lack of proper ancillary facilities. In addition to this, the Singapore government was looking to implement a range of initiatives in a bid to invigorate the urban landscape and enhance the nations natural resources, and a new, modern indoor sporting hub seemed to be the perfect answer to both questions.

Subsequently, plans for a new indoor stadium of international standards were initially proposed in 1971. Discussions, however, stalled for several years, partly due to the fact that Singapore was still recovering from a recent oil crisis. It was only until late 1985 that the Singapore Sports Council received the in-principle approval to build the stadium. The new vicinity would become part of the Kallang Sports Complex, situated along the Kallang River, which was itself already a feature rich in heritage dating back from Singapores pre-colonial history. Upon receiving the approval, progress gathered momentum with great enthusiasm, with Kenzo Tange Associates, and Raglan Squire and Partners appointed joint-project consultants shortly after, in the same year. 

Construction of the stadium began in late 1987, and within two years of the groundbreaking ceremony it would be completed two months ahead of schedule, with Singapore Pools Pte Ltd and the then-Singapore Turf Club funding the entire operation. With the cost of the stadium itself totalling S$68.08 million, as well as another S$22.09 million for the car park, landscaping and other supporting infrastructure, the construction of the new Singapore Indoor Stadium amounted to a combined total of S$90 million.

World renowned architect Kenzo Tange was no stranger to Singapore architecture, having already designed Nanyang Technological University here in 1986, and was once again commissioned in 1987, this time by the Singapore Sports Council to design the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Combining the latest technology with a design theme rooted in regional traditions, this is best epitomised by the majestic roof slope typical of temple architecture found in Asia. This amalgam of technology and tradition may have much to do with the variety of images the stadium is said to educe, ranging from a hat to a Chinese temple to Mount Fuji. Overall, the venue has earned much acclaim as one of the worlds architectural icons, with its ultra-modern design exemplifying Asian cultural values at the same time.

Key Features

Commanding a total site area of 54,178 m², the SIS scales the height of 47 metres at its highest point, making it one of the tallest single-storey buildings in Asia. The seating capacity ranges from 7,000 to 12,000, depending on the position and size of the stage required, and its versatility is enhanced by 2,660 retractable seats and 1,200 portable seats. In addition, the performing area, a modular stage capable of achieving different configurations, can be expanded to 2,925 m². A large four-screen Sony Jumbotron suspends from the ceiling in the centre of the arena, through which spectators can catch close up footage of the action or even occasional glimpses of themselves on its screens. At the same time, with 5,442 parking lots on the compound itself, most car drivers have little trouble finding a parking spot on their visits.

Along the years, several features have been added or upgraded to the stadium, in particular, the Stadium Waterfront project launched in 1998. The aim was to establish an area for outdoors activities along the Western façade of the venue. Al fresco dining, entertainment, in the form of several new restaurant outlets would provide a place to enjoy meals before a show or simply a relaxed atmosphere for friends to gather. In addition, an outdoor site for performances and events known as the Stadium Green was created for family or communal events.

Performers and Events

Since its inception, the SIS appears to have certainly lived up to its mission statement, To be the most sophisticated indoor venue of choice for sports, entertainment and community events, boasting an impressive and ever expanding array of various events which include sports such as tennis (Heineken Open Singapore, 1997), badminton (Aviva Open Singapore, 2009, since 2004), as well as the latest Singapore Asian Youth Games 2009. Apart from that, numerous cultural and communal events have taken place in the stadium, for instance, the first ever Chingay festival to be held indoors, Chingay 25 (1997). Likewise, many performers from around the world have chosen the venue to showcase their talents, notably Elton John, Tina Turner, The Pussycat Dolls, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, the list goes on.

Future Developments

As of 2007, construction of a new Sports Hub comprising of the existing SIS, a new 55,000-seat National Stadium, a 3,000-seat Aquatic Centre, 3,000-seat Multi-Purpose Sports Facility began as the government seeks to revamp the Kallang area into a vibrant environment for outdoors and leisurely activities. The projected completion date for the entire project has been set at 2011. On top of that, the Kallang River Basin will undergo desalination into a freshwater reservoir as a locale for water sports.

Koh Jia Jie


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The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

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