Singapore Indoor Stadium

Singapore Infopedia


The Singapore Indoor Stadium was officially opened on 31 December 1989 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.1 Situated along the scenic Kallang River area, the stadium was part of the government’s urban regeneration project to revitalise the urban landscape and provide a world-class venue to meet the country’s leisure and sporting needs.

Prior to the conception of the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the Geylang Indoor Stadium, affectionately known to its regulars as Gay World Stadium, was the main indoor facility catering to Singapore’s sporting or entertainment needs.2 However, the venue was rundown and lacked proper ancillary facilities. In addition, the Singapore government wanted to implement a range of initiatives to invigorate the urban landscape, and a new modern indoor sporting hub seemed to fit the bill.3

Plans for a new indoor stadium of international standards were first proposed in 1971. Discussions stalled for several years, partly because Singapore was recovering from an oil crisis. It was only until late 1985 that the Singapore Sports Council received in-principle approval to build the stadium. The new vicinity would become part of the Kallang Sports Complex along the Kallang River, which has a rich history dating back to Singapore’s precolonial era. Kenzo Tange Associates and Raglan Squire and Partners were appointed joint project consultants.4

Funded by Singapore Pools Pte Ltd and the Singapore Turf Club, the construction of the stadium began in late 1987 and was completed in November 1989. The cost of construction, landscaping and infrastructure amounted to S$90 million.5

The Singapore Sports Council commissioned renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in 1987 to design the Singapore Indoor Stadium.6 The sloped roof of the stadium resembles temple architecture found in Asia, and the venue was acclaimed as an architectural icon, with its ultramodern design that exemplifies Asian cultural values.7

Key features

Commanding a total area of 54,178 sq m, the Singapore Indoor Stadium is 47 metres at its highest point. It has a seating capacity of 12,000, a modular stage that can be expanded to 2,925 sq m, and a large four-screen Sony Jumbotron suspending from the ceiling in the centre of the arena.8

Several features have since been added to the stadium. For example, the Stadium Waterfront project launched in 1998 established an area for outdoor activities, with al fresco dining and entertainment outlets. In addition, the outdoor site known as the Stadium Green allows for performances, events and family activities.9

Performers and events

The Singapore Indoor Stadium hosted the 1990 Miss Singapore World final and numerous international sporting events, including the Heineken Open Singapore in 1997 (tennis), Aviva Open Singapore in 2007 (badminton), the inaugural Asian Youth Games in 2009, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from 2014 to 2018, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship 275 show in June 2022.10 

The first ever indoor Chingay held in 1997 took place in the stadium, in addition to other cultural and musical events.11 International pop stars and bands that have staged concerts at the stadium include Elton John, Tina Turner, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Taylor Swift, Jay Chou and Jacky Cheung.12

Singapore Sports Hub
With the Kallang area being revamped into a lively area for outdoors and leisurely activities, the Singapore Indoor Stadium became part of the new Singapore Sports Hub, which was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2015.13

Kallang Alive project
On 7 March 2024, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong announced plans for a new indoor arena to replace the Singapore Indoor Stadium, as part of the Kallang Alive project. The local architecture and heritage community had called for the stadium to be refurbished instead of demolished, noting that the iconic landmark was the only stadium that the late Professor Tange designed outside of Japan.14

Koh Jia Jie

1. Ong Soh Chin, “Stage Set for Musical Extravaganza,” Straits Times, 31 December 1989, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Tan Ec Sze, “New Indoor Stadium Booked All the Way up to 1994,” Straits Times, 26 October 1989, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Ernest Frida, “Plans Ready Soon for $45m Indoor Stadium,” Singapore Monitor, 1 March 1985, 30; Tay Cheng Khoon, “Beauty in the $68 Million Beast,” Straits Times, 2 December 1989, 35. (From NewspaperSG)
4. “What's in the SIS?” Straits Times, 31 December 1989, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Joe Dorai, “Indoor Stadium Will Be Ready Ahead of Time,” Straits Times, 1 March 1989, 39. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Tee Hun Ching, “Few Words Many Works,” Straits Times, 24 March 2005, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Tan Hock Beng, “New-look Stadiums Give Sense of Character and Identity,” Straits Times, 4 March 1995, 12; Tee, “Few Words Many Works.” (From NewspaperSG)
8. “Fact File of the 12,000 Seater,” Straits Times, 2 December 1989, 35; Peter Khoo, “Indoor Stadium Idea Mooted 18 Years Ago,” Straits Times, 31 December 1989, 12; 35; Joe Dorai, “Indoor Stadium Will Be Ready Ahead of Time,” Straits Times, 1 March 1989, 39. (From NewspaperSG); Singapore Indoor Stadium (Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, 1999), 2, 5, 6, 10–11. (Call no. RSING 725.8095957 SIN)
9. Robert Powell, Singapore: Architecture of a Global City (Singapore: Archipelago Press, 2000), 162–63. (Call no. RSING q720.959570904 POW) (From National Library Singapore)
10. “Big Guns,” New Paper, 6 October 1997, 3; “Top Stars to Play in Aviva Open,” Today, 12 April 2007, 56 (From NewspaperSG); “Asian Youth Games,” Straits Times, 24 June 2008, 35 (From NewspaperSG); Shannon Ling, “Singapore Sports Hub: Highs and LOws since 2014,” Straits Times, 10 August 2022; Sazali Abdul Aziz, “MMA: UFC 275 Sets Gate Takings Record at Indoor Stadium,” 12 June 2022. (From Newslink via NLB’s eResources website)
11. Wong Chee Meng, “Chingay to Be Staged in Indoor Stadium Too,” Straits Times, 14 January 1997, 20. (From NewspaperSG)
12. “Elton John Blasts Off,” Straits Times, 8 May 2008, 4; Jessica Leow, “She’s Still Simply the Best,” New Paper, 15 April 1996, 26; Asif Ansar, “They’re Red Hot,” Today, 11 December 2022, 28; Germaine Lim, “Taylor Makes Sparks Fly,” New Paper, 10 February 2011, 12; Boon Chan, “Not quite happy as a Jay,” Straits Times, 8 June 2013, 4 (From NewspaperSG); Benson Ang, “How Jacky Cheung Sold Out a Record Nine Shows at the Singapore Indoor Stadium,” 31 May 2023. (From Newslink via NLB’s eResources website)
13. Sport Singapore, “Singapore Sports Hub – Marking a New Chapter of a Sporting Singapore,” press release, 29 September 2010; Samantha Boh, “PM Marks Youth Day, Opens Sports Hub in front of 50,000 Crowd,” Straits Times, 26 July 2015. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
14. Abigail Ng, “Indoor Stadium to Make Way For ‘Best-in-class’ Arena,” Straits Times, 8 March 2024, 6. (From Newslink via NLB’s eResources website))

The information in this article is valid as of October 2023 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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