Since its inception in 2016, the LEGO Architecture Skyline series has allowed LEGO fans to get a taste of various cities across the world.
The newest addition is 21057 Singapore, which immediately caught my eye, as I grew up (and currently reside) in Singapore. The set depicts several iconic buildings and landmarks along the Singapore river, clocking in at 827 pieces and retails for US$59.99 / AU$89.99 / SGD$99.90 Let’s take a closer look!
Special thanks to the LEGO Group for supplying this set for review.
21057 Singapore – Set Details
The box is in the 18+/Architecture style of LEGO boxes, with the set against a black gradient background and a blue LEGO border along the bottom with the relevant set details.
I think the design looks smart and classy, fitting for an Architecture set which traditionally has been aimed at older audiences.
The back of the box shows another view of the set along with the real-life photos of the landmarks for comparison. Disappointingly, this angle reveals that this particular box uses thumb tabs, which basically ruin the box once you open it.
Previous Architecture sets have had flip-top lids which allow the box to be maintained in good condition even after opened, which fits the premium feel of the overall Architecture wave.
This was my best attempt at opening the box, unfortunately there’s still a fair bit of torn cardboard. I would like LEGO to return to the old lift-off lid style of boxes for a premium theme like Architecture.
Inside the box are five numbered bags and an instruction manual. Despite the set’s high piece count, the bags are surprisingly empty – I suppose it’s due to the large number of small pieces included. Bag 1 also has a brick separator, which is not uncommon in adult-oriented sets.
The instruction manual has pictures and descriptions of the various Singaporean attractions inside, which is a nice touch for a set like this.
Surprisingly, the background of the instructions is grey-colored, which is something I wasn’t used to but it’s not a big change.
Here are the printed pieces included in the set. There’s the name of the country printed on the base, while the others are used for window detail on multiple buildings.
The 2×3 printed tan tile is new, while the white pieces are reused from older sets. Nevertheless, they are all generic enough to be used to good effect in this set, and can definitely be reused if you want to make your own custom skylines.
Here is the base of the model. I like the unusual shape, as it’s much more visually interesting than a simple rectangle, and helps create visual depth between the various buildings.
There are also some interesting techniques used to attach the buildings. The OCBC Building and One Raffles Place clip onto the gold and black bars that are built into the base, while other buildings like Boat Quay are just attached using jumper plates.
Here’s the completed model, which cleverly places the smaller buildings along the foreground and the taller buildings at the rear.
The Singapore River is depicted with some 1×2 translucent light blue tiles, and different shades of blue plates are used underneath to try and create an illusion of depth in the water. Bright green leaf pieces are used throughout the model to represent the numerous trees in Singapore, which has earned the “Garden City” nickname.
I like the printed 1×8 black tile on the base which is labeled “Singapore”, fitting in with the other Architecture Skyline sets and looking great on display.
Let’s take a look at Marina Bay Sands first. It’s the biggest model in the set, and you actually build it last.
This isn’t the first time the integrated resort has appeared in LEGO, as it first appeared as a limited-edition Architecture set in 2013, but this is a much more accessible set. It features the three main towers and a boat-like design on the top, which is accurate to the real-life building.
The windows along the sides of the towers are represented with 1×4 translucent dark blue plates. In my opinion, the color choice is not perfect – the windows on the actual building generally appear as a lighter blue – but I suspect the LEGO designers chose a darker blue to avoid picking the same shade as the LEGO Singapore river.
The back of the model uses a ton of 1×2 white grill pieces – these represent the balconies on the back of the resort, as opposed to the windows on the front.
Translucent light blue tiles are used at the base to represent the parts of the building that connect the three towers, while studs-not-on-top techniques are used for the ‘boat’ on top to maintain a uniform, sleek appearance all around.
The top of the Marina Bay Sands building features 1×1 round green bush pieces to depict the trees, while translucent light blue plates are attached sideways to represent the 150m-long swimming pool.
Some light grey plates and tiles are used to good effect to simulate the buildings which make up the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark.
My only criticism of the LEGO Marina Bay Sands design is that the towers are built in a very vertical manner, which lacks the curvature of the real-life towers that give it that extra level of detail.
I understand the designers wanted to keep the towers narrow enough – and it’s certainly challenging at this scale they chose – but I would have liked a bit more curvature.
Here is Marina Bay Sands against the Singapore sky–as you can see the LEGO model is actually quite accurate overall, down to the shapes of the buildings on top.
The next building is One Raffles Place, a commercial/retail building. It is one of the tallest buildings in Singapore, but as far as retail places go this isn’t one of the most popular places–I honestly didn’t know about the building until this set was released.
The building consists of two triangular halves of different heights that join together to form a square shape overall. There aren’t any advanced LEGO techniques used to achieve this shape – LEGO simply used some cheese slopes and tiles to create a sort of triangular shape.
I suppose it looks alright–I can’t think of any technique which would make it look more realistic at this scale.
The back uses 1×3 inverted tiles to try creating a smooth look all around, but unfortunately these 1×3 inverted tiles have a hole in them which sort of ruins the look. At least the set is quite unlikely to be displayed from the back.
The whole building is built on its side and attached to the base with clips, which is much more stable than attempting to build it studs-facing-up.
Here’s the photo of the actual building in downtown Singapore. You can see what LEGO was going for with the two triangular halves at different heights, but I wouldn’t say it’s 100% spot-on due to the shape of the slopes used, and there’s actually a third section which makes up the entire One Raffles Building that was strangely omitted.
I honestly don’t know why LEGO chose this building to make, as the LEGO version is one of the less convincing buildings in the set, and there are other more iconic Singapore buildings to choose from.
Next is the OCBC Bank Building, which sits towards the right side of the set. It uses simple techniques in its construction, but looks very accurate when compared to the real building.
The printed 2×3 plates have been used to good effect, while the 1×1 red plate on the top represents the OCBC logo.
The back side of the building looks almost exactly the same, the only difference being the red plate is now on the right instead of the left.
Just like One Raffles Place, the OCBC Building is attached to the base with clips.
Here is the actual OCBC Building. As you can see the LEGO designers have done a great job replicating its basic design into LEGO, translating all the key details while maintaining the LEGO charm.
I do love the fact that the One Raffles Place and OCBC Building sit behind the Clarke Quay and Singapore River, which has been replicated in this set.
The positioning of all the buildings was never meant to be 100% accurate, but I appreciate the fact that they got the relative positions of these buildings close.
Next to the OCBC Building is an unnamed high-rise building, which uses four 1×2 printed bricks. I’m not sure what building this represents, and it is not identified in the box or the instruction manual.
It could be the Singtel Building, which is in the vicinity, or could just be a reference to the numerous high-rise buildings in Singapore.
In front of the OCBC Building and One Raffles Place is the row of buildings that make up Clarke Quay, a historical quay that flanks the Singapore River.
The 1×1 plates with black prints on the side are used to good effect for the windows on the buildings, and the overall colour scheme is quite similar to the actual Clarke Quay, thanks to the various dark orange slopes used on the rooftops.
Here is a portion of Clarke Quay for comparison. I like how LEGO has accurately represented the slightly dull orange of the roofs, along with scattered patches of bright colors.
To the left of Clarke Quay is Lau Pa Sat, also known as the Telok Ayer Market, a central and popular tourist destination thanks to its massive array of hawker and street food options.
It has a very simple design, using the 2×2 corner wedge plates and tiles, and in my opinion only passes as a general approximation of the actual building.
Here’s the actual Lau Pa Sat; as you can see the roof has slightly more complex patterns that are tricky to replicate in LEGO at this scale.
It’s not a super iconic building either and as the design is a bit challenging to make in LEGO, I don’t think including it in this set was the right choice.
To the left of Lau Pa Sat is the Fullerton Hotel. Interestingly this building, Clarke Quay, and Lau Pa Sat all have dark orange as one of their primary colors, which help to tie together the visual look of these buildings on the front row.
Both the printed white bricks and plates are used for window detail, and although it’s not entirely precise I think the general shape and design of the Fullerton Hotel has been done well here.
Here is the Fullerton Hotel as viewed from the Singapore River. There’s a lot of complex detail, but I think LEGO got the overall shape right which is fine in my book, considering the scale.
The last attraction is Gardens By The Bay, a nature park opened in 2014. The builds here represent the famous Supertree Grove, with their unique design and iconic look that have quickly become a national icon.
Fun fact: the Supertrees are all powered by solar energy, and glow brightly at night. Depending on the time, there are also light shows, making these a very popular tourist attraction.
Here’s the actual Supertree Grove, with colorful flora and fauna along the sides that fan outwards at the top.
LEGO cleverly used recolored wheel hub caps in a dark pink to represent the tops of the Supertrees. The smaller hubcaps are from Speed Champions cars, while the larger ones are recolored from the silver James Bond Aston Martin‘s wheels.
The Supertrees have a simple design that uses only a few pieces, at slightly varying heights.
Here’s one final look at the overall model. I must commend the designers for creating an excellent mix of different colors that make this set really interesting on display.
The blue of Marina Bay Sands mixed with the green and pink of Gardens by the Bay add vibrancy to the tan and dark orange hues on the right side, and of course there’s the light blue Singapore River at the front.
The blend of colours here makes for an aesthetically pleasing final product.
For every Architecture Skyline set, LEGO designers have to make difficult decisions of which buildings to include or exclude, so as to best capture the feel of the city.
Some of the buildings (like One Raffles Place and Lau Pa Sat) in this set are arguably strange choices, being challenging to recreate in LEGO at this scale whilst not being a super iconic building. Here are some other buildings that I think would’ve been more worthy additions to this set.
Esplanade – The Esplanade theatre was opened in 2002, envisioned as a hub for the performing arts in Singapore. It quickly became iconic due the fact that it looks like a durian, which is the national fruit of Singapore. Given that it sits along the Singapore River and has a unique Singaporean flair to its design, I think the Esplanade would’ve been a good inclusion.
Singapore Flyer – Yet another landmark that sits along the Singapore River, the Singapore Flyer is relatively iconic amongst the city skyline. Perhaps LEGO excluded it due to the challenge of making a ferris wheel at this scale, or maybe they thought it’d look too similar to the London Eye, but in my opinion this should have been included as the Flyer really stands out amongst the surrounding high-rise buildings.
Art-Science Museum – The white building on the left that is shaped like a lotus is the Art-Science Museum, opened in 2011 to symbolise “the welcoming hand of Singapore”. It has unique architecture and is a part of the Marina Bay Sands, so I think it could’ve been included; however I understand it would have been incredibly difficult to translate to LEGO.
Merlion – Easily the most glaring omission in the set, the Merlion is a national icon and the symbol of Singapore. It’s truly strange to me that this was not included, especially since it is situated along the Singapore River. A simple 1×2 printed tile mounted sideways would’ve been enough to suffice, but instead what is arguably the most iconic Singapore landmark is missing from this set.
What I liked:
- Overall color palette is aesthetically pleasing
- Varying heights and placement make the buildings more visually interesting
- Marina Bay Sands and OCBC Centre look fantastic
- Clever building techniques
What I didn’t like:
- One Raffles Place and Lau Pa Sat are strange choices with imperfect designs
- Omission of Merlion
- Box has thumb tabs
On the whole, I still think this set is well done. The color choices and varying heights of the buildings make this an aesthetically pleasing display piece, and the inclusion of iconic buildings like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay help this to capture the feel of Singapore.
It’s not perfect – there are some strange choices with the buildings included, and it’s disappointing to get thumb tabs on a box for a set supposed to be premium – but I think the positives outweigh the negatives. The price is also reasonable, considering the general premium markup for Architecture sets and the 800+ piece count.
Naturally I am a bit partial to this set, given that I am a Singaporean, but if you like the Architecture theme or the overall look of this set I think it is definitely a worthy purchase.
Build  – Detailed construction with good building techniques, earning its spot in the Architecture theme.
Real Value  – Good value for an Architecture set, but still a little expensive.
Innovation  – Nothing particularly ground-breaking but some of the building techniques are clever.
Coolness  – Looks excellent on display
Keepability  – Architecture sets usually are quite keepable, and this set is no different. It is aesthetically pleasing and definitely deserves a spot on your shelf.
Rating and score: 3/5 ★★★✰✰
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, on how well this matches up to the actual Singaporean skyline!
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