The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay resembles an open lotus flower or an open hand. Ten “fingers” rise out from the base, cupping the sky. It has 21 gallery spaces spread out over 4,600 sq m (50,000 sq ft) of exhibition space.
Stunning architectural marvels, however, are frequently building challenges as they use unusual shapes joined together. Translating these stunning visions into standing structures was no easy feat but Yongnam Engineering and Construction was up to the task. Yongnam is an engineering firm based in Singapore and was responsible for doing the detailing and fabricating of the steel skeleton of the ArtScience Museum.
The architects gave Yongnam a wire frame model as well as the 3D model. With this, Yongnam’s designers then re-drew everything within Tekla BIM software to produce the relevant workshop drawings for each part of the museum. These workshop drawings would then be used to fabricate the steel structures needed for the museum’s unusual design.
Detailing and fabricating the curved structures were a design challenge. “The museum is a complicated structure and the steel members had different geometries,” noted Arnold C. Hipolito, the Deputy Engineering Manager at Yongnam.
“You need to know the coordinates in order to get the correct geometry of all the members.” Getting the geometry wrong would mean that the parts would not fit. The need for precision made Tekla software a crucial tool for Yongnam.
The detailers used Tekla to produce the workshop drawing which was sent to the consultant for approval. After approval, the detailed workshop drawing was sent to Yongnam’s workshop for fabrication. In all, Yongnam produced about 5,000 steel parts and their respective workshop drawings. Apart from workshop drawings, Yongnam also used Tekla BIM software to create erection drawings and orientation drawings so that the different parts could be fitted together on site.
“Tekla has played a big role in reducing the time it took to model the structure of the ArtScience Museum”, said Hipolito. “Because the structure is so complex, if we didn’t have Tekla, the drawings would have taken five times longer.”
The entire process of designing and fabricating the steel parts for the ArtScience Museum took about two years. It was eventually opened in February 2011, and has become a major attraction thanks to its stunning architecture as well as the innovative exhibitions that it hosts.