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While men may dominate the local architectural scene, we highlight three incredible women who have dedicated their lives to beautifying our city

With its limited land space, Singapore has certainly had to be creative with its architectural feats in order to not only make room for our population but also to create a striking city skyline and sleek towers while preserving our heritage.

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To achieve this, Singapore’s top architects have put in blood, sweat and tears to achieve the virtually impossible and have put in place iconic buildings such as Pinnacle @ Duxton, the Singapore Sports Hub, Esplanade and more that regularly draw admiring eyes.

While the local architecture scene is made up of many notable men, we take a look at some of the incredible women that are making waves in the industry and who are also featured on Tatler’s 2021 Asia’s Most Influential list which came out this week. 

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1. Belinda Huang

Belinda Huang is the director and co-founder of Arc Studio Architecture + Urbanism, which is the firm behind projects such as the premium HDB towers of Pinnacle @ Duxton in the city centre, Wing Tai’s 337-unit The Tembusu condominium at Tampines Road and One Balmoral on Balmoral Road. 

She leads Arc Studio Architecture + Urbanism, which was founded in 1999, with her husband, Khoo Peng Beng. 

The studio made a name for itself just three years into business when it won the global Duxton Plain Public Housing Design Competition with its innovative design.

Since then, Huang has made waves in the industry with her communal space designs around the island. These include Nee Soon East Community Centre, An-Nur Mosque in Woodlands and Wesley Methodist Church, as well as hospitality developments such as Village Hotel, The Outpost Hotel and Barracks Hotel in Sentosa.

In 2020, Huang was named Designer of the Year at the President’s Design Awards and till today, she continues to change up and revamp our local architectural landscapes.


2. Angelene Chan

As the first female architect to receive the prestigious President’s Design Award Designer of the Year, Angelene Chan is certainly a force to behold in the architecture industry. 

Chan’s interest in architecture began when her parents allowed her to organise the renovation plans for their family home when she was only 12. 

She continued to pursue her interest and graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Architecture later on. Later, she first received recognition for her design credentials in 2010, when she was named one of Singapore’s 20 leading architects under the age of 45 by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. 

She only went up from there and managed to clinch the President’s Design Award (P*DA) for her design of Sunray Woodcraft Construction Headquarters in 2015. 

In 2018, Chan was named P*DA Designer of the Year which is Singapore’s highest design accolade.

Currently, Chan is the chairman of DP Architects, the firm behind notable sites such as the Singapore Sports Hub, Esplanade and the Dubai Mall.

DP Architects also worked on iconic city buildings such as Wisma Atria, The Centrepoint and Mandarin Gallery. 

3. Yu Yah-Leng

Bold, innovative and creative are three words that quite simply sum up Yu Yah-Leng, the founding partner and creative director of Foreign Policy Design Group.

Yu started out her life in the tech industry and graduated with a degree in computer technology from Nanyang Technological University. However, she realised that design was where her heart really was and moved on to the Art Institute of Boston where she pursued graphic design. 

She later moved to New York City where she operated a studio with her husband, Arthur Chin, for seven years.

In 2007, the designer moved back to Singapore and founded the Foreign Policy Design Group with Chin.

The couple’s hard work and dedication quickly grew the agency and they made a name for themselves by putting creative spins on their projects and elevating local and cultural references.

The practice has worked with clients such as the Sifang Art Museum in the Chinese city of Nanjing; and in Singapore, the former Gallery & Co museum store, F&B brands Park Bench Deli and Super Loco, and carpenters Roger&Sons.

Ever interested in growing budding talent, Yu and Chin launched the Design Diplomacy account on Instagram in 2020 to provide a showcase for homebound Asian creatives to display their work to a global audience.

Yua also has sat on the advisory board of the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design and has spoken and judged at events and institutions around the world.  

Read the full list of Asia's Most Influential  2021 here.

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