Moshe Safdie on icons, idealism and redefining Singapore’s skyline

There are few buildings that have more drastically shaped a city’s image than Marina Bay Sands. Just as the Eiffel Tower and Burj Khalifa define the skylines of Paris and Dubai, the soaring three-tower resort, joined across the top by a horizontal “skypark” and the world’s most famous infinity pool, is an icon both in and of Singapore.

In fact, the hotel-casino project is so successful that the man who designed it doesn’t even stay there.

“It’s too noisy,” said Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. “I’m a swimmer and I can never get in the pool because there are so many people taking pictures.”

Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum, also designed by Safdie. Credit: Unkel/ullstein bild/Getty Images

Now resuming his once-frequent trips to Singapore amid easing travel restrictions, Safdie prefers the nearby Ritz-Carlton, where we meet for afternoon tea. (“I had a British mother,” he explained, “so I’m a sucker for scones and tea.”) At a top-floor table…

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