I had heart palpitations when Lucasfilm announced in 2009 the building of its Singapore office in the likeness of the Sandcrawler. During its construction at the Fusionopolis district, I was quite the stalker, checking on its progress like any Star Wars fan boy would, wondering if I would have a chance to step into it.
I almost jumped out of my skin a few days ago when I received an invite to the official opening of the Sandcrawler building for today. As if that’s not a big enough treat, George Lucas was going to officiate the ceremony. Ok, now I’ve just died and gone to Star Wars heaven.
The massive eight-storey Sandcrawler has already won six architectural awards with its unusual “horseshoe” design on a challenging sloping topography. The building façade is made of a metallic glass skin – a high-performance energy-saving glass that allows sunlight to stream through, minus the heat. This chrome-like glass creates a futuristic feel to the building, a vast upgrade to the rusty metal of the Jawas’ Sandcrawler on Tatooine.
The attention to details to the building and its environment is George Lucas’ commitment to develop a creative environment for its staff. At the opening ceremony today, he said “This building signifies the possibilities we saw and realised when we initially launched the Singapore unit. It’s the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication, and I’m proud to be here for the opening. The building’s everything I hoped it would be and I look forward to the day that I can sit in a theatre and see all of the amazing work that comes from the artists that work here.”
On top of that, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also graced the occasion, alongside Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm. In his speech, PM Lee mentioned that in local context, the Jawas (who operate the Sandcrawler) are probably the local equivalent of the “Karung Guni Man” (Singaporean term for rag-and-bone men), which I’m sure many Singaporeans would agree. Both George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy highlighted in their speeches that the Singapore studio have come a long way over the past decade, and are now creating special effects/animation that’s on par with the studios in San Francisco and Vancouver.
With the studio in Singapore currently working on upcoming blockbuster movies like Transformers 4, The Avengers 2, and the upcoming Star Wars movies, it looks like they’ll be needing a bigger Sandcrawler in a few years time. Perhaps a Death Star next?
Enough talk, here are some photos from the exterior/interior of the Sandcrawler, as well as some highlights from the opening ceremony held earlier today. Pity there were no droids or Jawas, which was a bummer.